NORTON, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team shouldered a tough loss in its NEWMAC opener on Tuesday evening, falling 3-0 to Wheaton College in a Battle of the Lyons. With the win, Wheaton moves to 7-2 (1-0) on the season, while MHC slips to 4-2 (0-1) overall on the year.
The homestanding Lyons jumped out to a quick advantage in the opening set, holding a 7-3 lead behind a kill from Allison Cox. Mount Holyoke clawed back into the frame as strike from Sasha Simine and a service ace from Joy Maran knotted things up at 11-all.
Wheaton opened another lead, but MHC once again tied it up after capitalizing on an attacking error by the home team. Despite the momentum, the visiting Lyons could not hold of Wheaton, which went on a 9-0 run to take a 23-14 lead. Three kills from Cathryn MacGregor paced the way during the span as the home team went on to take the 25-16 set win.
In the second set, an 8-0 run powered by two kills each from Julia Palomba and Claire Cansler pushed Wheaton to a 16-6 lead. MHC was able to take advantage of several errors on the home team side, but a service ace from Nikita Selivan and an error on Mount Holyoke led Wheaton to the 25-12 win in the frame.
The two teams kept the third frame incredibly close, neither leading by more than two points until the 10-all mark as the homestanding Lyons went on a 6-0 run to build the advantage up to 16-10. Mount Holyoke closed the gap with three straight points to make it 22-21, but Wheaton laid down three straight kills, including two from Palomba to earn the 25-21 set and match win.
Palomba led the way for the home team with a match-high 11 kills, adding nine digs, three block assists, a service ace and two assists. Cansler posted nine kills and four block assists, while Becca Houghton added game-bests with 38 assists and 11 digs.
For Mount Holyoke, Simine posted four kills with two block assists, while Maran added three kills, five digs and four service aces. Melissa Stewart added five assists, while Sarah Caggiano had a team-high nine digs.
Mount Holyoke returns to the court on Saturday in a 2pm match at Wellesley. Wheaton is back in action on Thursday when it hosts Salve Regina at 7pm.