POTSDAM, N.Y. – In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Volleyball New York Regional Tournament, Southern Vermont College proved to be tougher than most would believe a No. 7 seed to be. The Mountaineers lost to No. 2 Middlebury College, 3-1, Friday evening at hosting Clarkson University.
Despite being just less than 100 miles apart from each other on Rt. 7, the two programs had never faced each other prior to Friday. Middlebury defeated Southern Vermont with game scores of 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22. The Panthers improved to 23-6 on the season, while Southern Vermont saw its season end at 24-7.
The third-set win was the first ever for SVC Volleyball in an NCAA Tournament, as well as the first game for a New England Collegiate Conference women's volleyball team to take at an NCAA regional.
Middlebury came out swinging in the first set as Julia Gibbs (Houston, Texas) was striking from all angles for the Panthers, with Amy Hart (Kenilworth, Ill.) and Megan Jarchow (Cos Cob, Conn.) flanking her on the attack. Despite most of the shots making it over the diminutive front line of Southern Vermont, the Mountaineers defense was up to task by keeping several balls in play. However, the Panthers serving also put the Mountaineers on their heels and made it difficult for Southern Vermont to put together much offensively to in the first two sets.
The third set saw the Mountaineers find a different gear, especially for senior Jessica Alvarez (Los Angeles, Calif.), who was able to pick up a few aces and continue her onslaught offensively that saw her finish with a game-high 21 kills. In the fourth set, Middlebury held off a late charge by Southern Vermont, but its .343 hitting percentage (15-3-35) was too much for the Mountaineers to overcome.
Alvarez was a force for SVC with 21 kills on 44 swings, adding in 13 digs and three aces. Ashily Veliz (Los Angeles, Calif.) also had 10 kills with no errors on 25 attacks and Carrie Baltazar (Whittier, Calif.) had 39 assists. Vivian Delgado (La Puente, Calif.) led a strong defensive corps in the back for the Mountaineers, contributing a team-best 17 digs.
Middlebury's Gibbs finished with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Jarchow and Hart produced 14 and 13 kills, respectively, with Hart also added in 10 and three aces. Kathryn Haderlein (Pasadena, Calif.) ran the offense to a tune of 52 assists and nine digs, while Caitlin Barrett (Medfield, Mass.) topped the team with 15 digs. Piper Underbrink (Ocala, Fla.) also had four total blocks to go along with her .444 hitting percentage (9-1-18).