South Hadley, Mass. - October 11, 2019 - Despite dropping the first two sets of the match, the Mount Holyoke College volleyball team rallied to win the third set and the fourth, but the Lyons eventually fell to Western New England, 3-2, in a five-set thriller in Howard Gymnasium on Friday evening.
With the loss, the Lyons fall to 5-14 overall, while the Golden Bears improve to 11-10. Mount Holyoke College fell by the set scores of 16-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-9, 13-15.
Sophomore Sarah Bishop (Rutland, Mass.) and first-year Marianne Simon (Miami, Fla.) each had 12 kills for the Lyons in the setback, while Chelsea Galicia (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) posted a team-best 18 digs. Bishop also had 16 digs for the Lyons, while Brayden Walden (McKinney, Texas) and Alexandra Keough (Endicott, N.Y.) combined for 34 assists.
The Lyons got off to a slow start in the match as the Golden Bears took an early 8-1 advantage, before back-to-back kills from Simon helped Mount Holyoke College climb back to within four, trailing 9-5. Western New England pushed its lead back to eight, leading 16-8 on a kill from Toni Fiore (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), but the Lyons would pull back to within four again on a bad set from the Golden Bears. The visitors used a late 5-0 run to take a 21-12 lead in the set before closing out the frame, 25-16 on a kill from Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.).
A kill from Natasha Henry (Troy, N.Y.) gave the Lyons an 8-6 lead to start the second set, before a kill from Bishop made it 13-8, Mount Holyoke College, midway through the frame. Clinging to a 23-19 lead following a kill from Bishop, Western New England was able to rally and complete a 26-24 victory to take a 2-0 match lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Lyons responded in the third set as Simon picked up an ace to give Mount Holyoke College an early 8-5 lead, before another kill from the first-year would make it 15-12 midway through the set. From there, Western New England was able to even the score at 18, and the two sides would trade blows until Bishop produced an ace and McKenna Crosby (Jonesborough, Tenn.) sealed the 25-23 victory with a kill to make it 2-1, Golden Bears.
Mount Holyoke College dominated the fourth set, using a 6-0 run in the beginning of the frame to make it 13-5, before another kill from Bishop made it 16-6. From there, Bishop would pick up two more kills to make it 21-8, before the sophomore picked up consecutive aces to close out the 25-9 victory.
Entering the fifth set, Western New England took an early 5-3 lead following a kill from McDonnell, but three-straight errors from the Golden Bears made it 10-6 in favor of the Lyons. The Golden Bears then called a timeout, and coming out of the break, Sasha Simine (Kitchener, Ont.), Bishop and Henry all picked up kills but the Golden Bears were able to close out the 15-13 set victory and the 3-2 match win.
Up next, the Lyons will return to Howard Gymnasium on Tuesday, October 15 when they will host Springfield College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play at 7 p.m.