Women’s Volleyball Overtaken in 3-1 Home-opening Loss to Castleton

Liv sowles hits the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team played its first home match of the season Wednesday night—falling 3-1 to Castleton University in non-conference action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

SVC took the opening set by a commanding 25-10 margin, but the Spartans were able to come back and win the next three with set scores of 25-9, 25-14, and 25-15.

The Mountaineers (0-10) are right back in action Thursday night when they head to Smith College for a 7 p.m. first serve.

Southern Vermont was led offensively by junior Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) who notched a match-high 14 kills to go with her team-best 12 digs and three service aces. Sophomore Sarah Billow (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) was right behind in the kills column with 10 of her own, and she also had five digs and four aces on the night.

Mountaineer sophomore Abigail Landon (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) facilitated the offense with 24 assists, and she added four aces and four digs to her line. Freshman Gabby Rushia (Cohoes, N.Y.) tied her season-best of seven digs to chip in defensively for SVC.

Sowles served for six-straight points early in the first set—two of those being aces—and the Mountaineers never looked back en route to taking a quick lead in the match. Billow would land her third kill to make it a 10-4 upper hand, and she then took service and ripped across three aces during a 5-0 spurt for a comfortable advantage. Sowles put down back-to-back kills before Landon scored four aces in a five-point stretch for SVC's lead to climb into double digits. Landon then set Sowles for the final kill which made it a 1-0 edge on the night.

The second set was close in the onset with Sowles and Billow registering consecutive kills to tie it at 4-4. Castleton would seize the momentum at that point, however, and sandwiched an SVC timeout with 12 unanswered scores. Billow and Bennington College freshman Kemly Derby (New York City, N.Y.) each landed a kill—only to see the Spartans continue their efficiency from the other side of the net as they opened up a sizable lead. Sowles tried to ignite the Mountaineers with back-to-back kills late in the frame, but it wouldn't be enough as CU closed it out to tie the match at one apiece.

After the Spartans took the first five points of the third game, Southern Vermont chipped away at its deficit with Billow recording two kills and an ace to make it a 9-6 difference. A 7-1 run by the visitors opened it up once again, however, and Castleton was able to maintain its cushion through the remainder of the set. Sowles followed one of her kills with an ace to make it 18-10, but the Spartans took four of the next five before finishing it off with a 3-1 spurt to go on top in the contest.

A Billow kill early into the fourth helped cut it to an 8-5 Castleton advantage—only for the visitors to bounce back with a 6-1 run to go up by eight and force an SVC timeout. Sowles and senior captain Julia Florence (Salem, Mass.) put down back-to-back kills to prevent the Spartans from pulling away, and the Mountaineers then picked up momentum to rattle off four straight. CU would not be held back from closing out the victory, however, and took the final four points of the evening to win the inner-state showdown.