Women’s Volleyball Takes First NECC Loss With 3-1 Defeat at Elms

abby landon serves the ball

CHICOPEE, Mass. – Southern Vermont College suffered its first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's volleyball loss of the year Wednesday night as the visiting Mountaineers fell 3-1 to Elms College at Picknelly Arena.

SVC won the opening set 25-18, but the Blazers came back to take the next three by 25-16, 25-22, and 25-23 margins.

The Mountaineers (16-5, 5-1 NECC) are back at home for their next match as they host Becker College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. NECC tilt.

Southern Vermont senior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) notched her eighth double-double of the year and her sixth in the last eight matches she's played with 10 kills and 11 digs. Junior Meg Maddalena (Portola, Calif.) tied the team-high of 10 kills while senior libero Heidy Benitez (Tulare, Calif.) tallied 30 digs on the night. Junior Taryn Higareda (Rosemead, Calif.) registered 33 assists and 13 digs for her second double-double of the season, and sophomore Nikki Ramirez (West Covina, Calif.) chalked up 16 digs and eight kills for the Mountaineers.

EC held a 16-12 lead in the first set before SVC took to an 11-1 run to jump on top; Higareda had three aces at the end of that stretch while the Blazers hurt themselves with six errors. Sowles then landed a kill before serving up an ace to win the frame.

After Southern Vermont went in front 11-5 in the second, Elms came storming back with a 10-1 run. EC then finished the game with six unanswered points to tie the match at 1-1.

The third stanza was tightly contested with Maddalena landing a kill to help tie it at 13-13. EC would score four straight, however, before going on a 6-1 run to make it set point. SVC battled back and won the next five with three-straight aces by junior Sarah Baty (Portola, Calif.), but a Blazer kill ended it for the hosts to go on top in the contest.

Elms took the first six points of the next game and went in front by seven with a 6-1 run, but Southern Vermont took a timeout and responded with eight-straight to take the edge (15-14). The back-and-forth continued with EC winning the next four before the Mountaineers took five in-a-row behind kills from Sowles, Ramirez, and Maddalena. With SVC leading 22-20, however, Elms seized the momentum and went on a 5-1 spurt to win the set and the match.