AMHERST, MA – For the third straight year, Amherst College failed to lose a match as hosts of the Amherst Women's Volleyball Classic, as the Lord Jeffs earned a 3-1 win over Middlebury College Saturday morning before wrapping up the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Westfield State College. Amherst finished at 3-0 for the two-day event, while Middlebury, Brandeis University and Westfield State went 2-1, 1-2 and 0-3, respectively.
Amherst earned a convincing 3-0 victory over Middlebury earlier in the season, but the Panthers looked sharp this time around and took a 10-5 lead to force the Lord Jeffs into an early timeout in the first set. The visitors had an answer for every Amherst run, but the sixth lead change of the set would be the last, as the Jeffs took a 19-18 lead and did not look back. First-year Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, CA) had the finishing touch to cap off a 25-20 first-set win.
The Panthers led early in the second set, but Amherst did not relinquish its lead after going ahead 6-5. The Jeffs led comfortably for the majority of the set before being met by a late Middlebury surge, but senior Alison Munzer (Beverly Hills, CA) came up with a pair of kills down the stretch to help Amherst edge out a 25-21 victory.
Middlebury used an early 10-2 run to take control of the third set and lead by as many as nine points. The Jeffs could not find their rhythm and the Panthers did not let up, holding on for a 25-18 win to force a fourth set. Amherst regained control of the match by taking a 17-7 lead in the fourth frame en route to a 25-10 win, with sophomores Katherine Jordan (Los Altos Hills, CA) and Laura Hyman (Glencoe, IL) combining for a block on the match's final point.
Less than 24 hours after setting a new career high in assists, Jordan bested her Friday night total by picking up 45 against Middlebury, adding 18 digs (also a new career high), three service aces and three total blocks in what was another very solid performance for Amherst. Meier and Hyman paced the attack with 13 and 10 kills, respectively, while first-year Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA) and sophomore Rachel Yorke (Los Angeles, CA) each had 16 digs.
Senior quad-captain Hannah Wirth (Pacific Palisades, CA) was dominant at the net for the Lord Jeffs, as she hit at a .500 clip with nine kills to go along with six total blocks (two solo).
Senior co-captain Lindsay Patterson had 13 kills and 10 digs for the Panthers, with classmate Olivia Minkhorst chipping in with 14 digs. Sophomore Lauren Barrett had 33 assists and 15 digs, junior Natalie DuPre added 19 digs and four service aces, and sophomore Whitney Bean had seven kills and five total blocks.
First-year Jane Handel had a stellar all-around match for Middlebury, totaling eight kills, three service aces, 14 digs and a trio of total blocks.
Amherst carried its momentum into its 2 p.m. match with the Owls of Westfield State and cruised to victories of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-11. Meier and Munzer led the Amherst attack with 10 and eight kills, respectively, while Yorke had a match-high 15 digs. Kanoff had seven service aces with Jordan and junior Bethany Belisle (Austin, TX) each adding four, while Jordan added 27 assists.
First-year Alex Wahl (five kills, nine assists, three blocks) led the Owls, with sophomore Nicole Ryan and first-year April Gordon each picking up four kills. Juniors Katie Kurty and Stephanie Bartkus had eight and seven digs, respectively, while first-year Kerin DeGirolamo had four service aces.
The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday, Oct. 4 to resume NESCAC play with an 11 a.m. match at Wesleyan University.