SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team hosted the 2013 NEWMAC/Little East Challenge on Saturday at the Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium. The event, which features the Lyons and Smith from the NEWMAC and Keene State and Plymouth State from the Little East, saw the Pioneers go undefeated on the day with a 2-0 mark. MHC slips to 9-13 on the season after falling in both matches against its Little East foes.
The Lyons opened the day against a tough Keene State squad, which had shouldered a 3-1 loss in its first match of the day to Smith. MHC came out swinging and took the opening set by a 26-24 margin, but could not hold on as the Owls rallied for 25-12, 25-20 and 25-19 scores over the final three sets for the victory.
Leading the homestanding Lyons was senior Martina Kneifel, who posted 14 kills and 17 digs to go along with a block solo and two block assists. Sophomore Emma Sweeting added 13 kills and 11 digs with a block solo and four block assists, while first year Natalie Lyon added 34 assists and 16 digs. Keene State was led by sophomore Angela Silveri who had 17 kills and 19 digs.
Junior Sammy Dormio added 21 digs, while Alexis Michal had 26 assists and 10 digs for the Owls.
Mount Holyoke's second match of the day pitted the Lyons against Plymouth State. The Panthers jumped out to the lead with a 25-23 first set victory, but MHC battled back to take the second set by a 25-13 margin. Despite the momentum, the Lyons could not hold off the visitors, which took narrow victories of 26-24 and 25-23 to earn the match victory.
Kneifel led the Lyons effort, striking down 20 kills with 12 digs, three block solos and two block assists. Sweeting added 10 kills with two service aces, while Lyon chipped in with 35 assists and 14 digs.
For Plymouth State, junior Jana Nieman had 13 kills with three block assists, while first year Katie Sylvia added 10 kills with eight digs. Sophomore Kirsten Perrotta chipped in with 34 assists, nine digs and three block assists.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Elms for a 6pm contest.