BENNINGTON, Vt. – A reversal of fortune was the story line for Wednesday night's Southern Vermont-Williams College women's volleyball matchup.
Last season, the Mountaineers went to Williams and lost the first set, eventually winning the match, 4-1; Wednesday night, amidst the deafening echoes of the Mountaineer Athletic Center on the campus of SVC, Southern Vermont took the first set, and Williams battled back for the 4-1 victory.
Just the second loss on the season for the Mountaineers (17-2, 5-0 in New England Collegiate Conference), the match was back-and-forth throughout the four sets with each team playing upon its momentum swings. Williams (13-7, 6-2 in New England Small College Athletic Conference) eventually carried its rallies to win the last three sets by scores of 25-13, 25-20, and 25-20. SVC won the first game 25-22.
Neither team was able to get a comfortable lead in the first set, with SVC taking the biggest margin of three points a handful of times. Williams utilized timeouts twice and was able to close the gap afterwards; however Southern Vermont stayed focused and never lost the lead after going ahead 11-10.
Williams came out in the second and took an early lead, going up 6-3. The Ephs slowly increased their advantage, eventually getting up to an 11-point lead until winning the set by 12.
The Mountaineers were ahead at the onset of the third game, but Williams was able to tie the score 6-6. Going ahead on the next point, the Ephs protected their lead to stay ahead throughout the remainder of the set. Their biggest lead became six points at 19-13, yet SVC battled back to make the score 21-18. Williams inched its way to the 25-point mark to take the 2-1 set advantage.
Game four saw Southern Vermont get out to an early lead with the help of service errors by the Ephs. The Mountaineers took a four-point lead twice, but Williams' resiliency caused them to tie the game at 11-11. The lead exchanged between the two teams nine times until the scoreboard read 20-20. From there, the Ephs won the next five points for the match-winning serve which skimmed off the top of the net and fell to the Mountaineers' side of the court.
Southern Vermont was led by senior Jessica Alvarez (Los Angeles, Calif.) with 13 kills and senior captain Danielle Healis (Escondido, Calif.) who had a match-high .455 hitting percentage on 22 attempts (10 kills, no errors). Senior Carrie Baltazar (Whittier, Calif.) set up the attack with 28 assists. Three Mountaineers hit double-digit digs, with Alvarez leading the way with 15; Baltazar had 12, while senior Cindyline Sevilla (Los Angeles, Calif.) recorded 13. Sevilla was the Mountaineers' libero for the first two sets before head coach Josh Stokes decided to play the rest of the match without a designated libero.
The Williams attack was led by junior Emily Doll (Villa Park, Calif.) who had a match-high 18 kills on 32 swings. Eph freshman setter Ryan Farley (La Jolla, Calif.) led all players with 45 assists, while sophomore Amanda Schott (Niskayuna, N.Y.) carried a match-high 18 digs. Freshman Catherine Egan (New York, N.Y.) recorded a match-high five block assists.
Southern Vermont will travel to Wesleyan University (Conn.) on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. match, while the Ephs look to their Friday evening match versus Mass. Institute of Technology at Mount Holyoke College, set to begin at 7 p.m.