The Mount Holyoke volleyball team ushered in a new era in 2017, as head coach Iris Carpio took the reins of the program. Under her direction, the Lyons posted a 10-12 mark, while going 1-9 in NEWMAC action.
MHC opened the season on a solid note, beginning with a tri-match victory on the road. The Lyons bested the University of St. Joseph by a 3-1 margin, before defeating UMass-Dartmouth, 3-0. Sophomore middle hitter Sasha Simine led the squad with a career-high 16 kills to go along with six total blocks in the opening match before adding eight kills and two blocks in the latter match.
The Lyons extended their winning streak to four with victories over MCLA (3-0) and Elms College (3-1) as junior right side and captain Sarah Caggiano notched a game-high eight kills with nine digs and four block assists against the Trailblazers. Junior middle hitter Jamesa Allen had a strong effort versus the Blazers with seven kills and five block assists.
A rough stretch followed as MHC suffered five straight defeats, but snapped the slide with an outstanding 3-2 win at WPI. Simine was brilliant for the Lyons, posting a game-best 15 kills, a .412 attack percentage and five aces to go with five block assists against the Engineers. Rookie setter Brayden Walden went on to post 35 assists.
Following a tough loss at MIT, the Lyons bounced back once again with 3-0 sweeps of Anna Maria and Framingham State to open October as Allen recorded 10 kills while Simine added 16 strikes. MHC fell to Springfield in NEWMAC action and shouldered a tough non-conference loss to Western New England before rebounding with a 3-0 victory over Bard as Caggiano posted seven kills and three block assists.
The Lyons shouldered another pair of defeats at the hands of SUNY New Paltz and Clark before sweeping tri-match action on Family and Friends Weekend. MHC bested Baruch (3-0) and Westfield State (3-1) behind a career and match-high 21 kills from Allen against the Bearcats.
Mount Holyoke closed out the season with a hard-fought 3-2 loss at Smith, followed by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Babson to wrap-up the regular season slate.
Overall, Simine led the squad in kills with 208 through 22 matches. She also paced the team with a .328 hitting percentage, a team-high 2.70 kills per set average, 80 total blocks and a 1.04 blocks per set average. Among the NEWMAC's best, Simine led the conference in blocks per set, while recording the third-best hitting percentage among all players. Allen finished second in total kills with 167, posting a 2.17 kills per set margin. Junior outside hitter Joy Maran posted a squad-best 35 service aces, while classmate and libero Cameron Graham had 316 digs for the year. Walden paced the squad in assists with 460 during her rookie campaign.
Academically, the Lyons had four players tabbed to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference team including Allen. Caggiano, Maran, and Simine. Junior outside hitter Isabell Linde was also named to the conference's All-Sportsmanship Team for the second straight season. Additionally, Simine was tabbed to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District 1 First Team.