SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team rallied for a big win in the second set, but couldn't get past Wellesley College in the final two frames, falling to the visiting Blue by a 3-1 margin in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Tuesday evening. The victory moves Wellesley to 16-2 on the season and to a perfect 5-0 in conference play. Mount Holyoke slips to 8-6 overall and 0-6 in the NEWMAC.
Wellesley cruised to a 25-9 win in the opening set as junior outside hitter Sydney Carfagno (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall) earned the visitors four straight points off the serve for a 12-4 lead. A kill from Lyons junior middle hitter Rebecca Bland (Durham, N.C./Carolina Friends School) later pulled it to a 13-7 game, but five straight points on the serve by senior setter Hilary Ayers (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho/Lake City) made it a 19-7 advantage for Wellesley.
In the second set, MHC jumped out to a huge advantage, taking a 9-0 lead, which included three straight aces from junior setter Stephany Yang (Glen Allen, Va./Henrico). The Blue quickly turned the tides, pulling to within four (15-11) on a kill from senior middle hitter Alixandra Binney (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic School). The Lyons continued to press down the stretch and capitalized on several Wellesley error and a kill from senior middle hitter Kristina Weld (Warwick, Mass./Pioneer Valley Regional) to take the set by a 25-19 margin.
The Blue bounced back in the third set and grabbed a 6-1 lead to get things going, including a pair of kills from junior middle hitter Caitlin Laughlin (St. Louis Park, Minn./St. Louis Park Senior). MHC rallied to make it 10-9 on a strike by senior Martina Kneifel (Oro Valley, Ariz./Canyon del Oro), but six kills over the next 10 plays, including four from Carfagno made it a 23-12 advantage for Wellesley, who went on to win by a 25-16 margin in the third.
Wellesley closed out the game with a 25-12 win in the fourth set. After jumping out to a 7-3 advantage, the Blue saw the Lyons battle their way back in as junior Kaleen Iwema (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township) put down a kill to make it 11-8. Four kills from Carfagno followed, along with three from senior Megan Mills (Brockton, Mass./Brockton), who laid down the match winning point for victory.
Carfagno led all players with 16 kills, also adding three aces and nine digs. Senior defensive specialist Traci Hamanaka (Burbank, Calif./John Burroughs) recorded a game-high 12 digs, while Ayers had a game-high four aces and 31 assists.
For MHC, Kneifel posted nine kills, while Yang had three aces, nine assists and six digs. First year setter Natalie Lyon (Oakton, Va./Flint Hill School) added eight assists.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Tuesday, October 8 in a 7pm match at Coast Guard. Wellesley is back in action on Thursday with a 7pm tilt at UMass-Boston.
Photo courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.