SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team used a balanced attack across three sets to post a 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-13) victory over Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) on Tuesday evening in their home opener. With the win, the Lyons move to 2-1 on the season, while the Trailblazers are now 1-3 overall.
The homestanding Lyons pulled away on a 4-0 run in the opening frame to make it a 15-10 advantage behind a second straight service ace from sophomore setter Brayden Walden (McKinney, Texas/McKinney North). MCLA got a pair of points late, including one from junior middle hitter Sara LaFreniere (Becket, Mass./Wahconah) to make it 21-15, but kills from senior captain Sarah Caggiano (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) and first year outside hitter Sarah Bishop (Rutland, Mass./Wachusett Regional) sealed the set win.
MCLA opened up a 5-3 edge in the second stanza as LaFreniere laid down a solid kill. The Trailblazers gained another point on an attacking error by the home team, but MHC bounced back, tying the match at 6-all behind kills from Caggiano and Simine. MCLA went on to close the gap at 17-16, but the Lyons charged forward once more with an 8-0 run to win the set.
Mount Holyoke came out dominant in the final set, using a 9-0 run to gain an 18-3 lead. It was a run which saw four kills from senior captain Jamesa Allen (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona). MCLA continued to fight down the stretch, earning four straight points on the brink of defeat. First year outside hitter Laiken Cornwell-L'Hote (Dalton, Mass./Wahconah) put down a kill, followed by a solid block and kill from classmate and middle hitter Reagan Scattergood (Rhinebeck, N.Y./Rhinebeck Central School) to make it 24-11. Despite the momentum, the Lyons were able to shut down the attack on a final kill from Simine.
For the Lyons, Allen posted a match-best 11 kills with just two errors for a .529 hitting percentage. She also added three block assists in the match. Simine had 10 kills, five digs and two block assists, while Caggiano had seven kills, three service aces, eight digs and a block assist. Bishop also added seven kills and a block assist, while Walden had a match-high 27 assists to go along with a match-best six service aces. Senior libero Cameron Graham (Sarasota, Fla./The Out of Door Academy) had a match-high 10 digs.
MCLA was paced by four kills from Scattergood and LaFreniere. Scattergood also added two service aces and a block solo and a block assist, while had four digs and a block solo. Junior defensive specialist Celine Manigbas (Floral Park, N.Y./Bard High) recorded a team-best seven digs, while classmate and setter Tessa Sestito (Corona, Calif./Valencia) had eight assists.
Mount Holyoke is back in action on Saturday when it hosts a tri-match at the Howard Gymnasium. The Lyons face off against Newbury in the opener (11am), and take on Pratt Institute in the final match of the day (3pm). MCLA is back in action on Thursday when it opens its home slate against Anna Maria (6pm).