Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. – Cristy Meier '12 (San Anselmo, Calif.) hammered home 17 kills to help the Amherst women's volleyball team rally for a 3-2 (23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-23, 16-14) victory over archrival Williams on Senior Day at LeFrak Gymnasium. With the win, Amherst improved to 19-6 overall on the season with a 5-4 league ledger, while the Ephs fell to 16-11 (5-4 NESCAC).
With the first set knotted at five, Williams netted consecutive points, taking a two-point lead on an Emily Baratta '14 kill. The Ephs later stretched their lead to four when Haley Eagon '13 and Claire Miller '15 combined to block Amherst first-year Lauren Antion (Los Angeles, Calif.), but the Jeffs responded with two-straight points to pull back within two at 13-11.
Trailing 16-10 following a timeout, Meier and Mary Reiser '12 (New York, N.Y.) tallied back-to-back kills to pare the Williams margin down to four. Down just one at 18-17 following a KC Kanoff '12 (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) spike and a Williams attack error, the Jeffs netted their third-straight point to pull even.
Tied at 20, Miller gave the Ephs a slim lead with her fourth kill of the evening before an Amherst attack error padded the visitor's cushion. Hoping to stay alive following a stoppage, Antion tipped it over the Eph frontline bringing Amherst within one before a Williams hitting error once again tied the set. Still knotted at 23, Raea Rasmussen '15 put the Jeffs on the brink with a kill before an Amherst miscue sealed the Eph's 25-23 win.
Buoyed by a couple of Williams errors, Amherst raced to a three-point lead to start the second, going up 4-1 on an Antion block. Notching six of the set's next seven points, Williams took a two-point edge on a Baratta kill and an Eagon block. With the Ephs extending their margin to five at 11-6, Meier ended the Jeff dry spell with a kill before a Williams error brought Amherst back within three.
Down just 16-14, Antion tallied another spike before Reiser and junior Abigail Hunter (Kentfield, Calif.) combined on a block to tie the frame. Antion then notched a service ace, giving Amherst the advantage. With the set tied at 21, Kanoff hammered home a kill to put the Jeffs up one before Rasmussen again knotted things up with a spike.
After Miller gave Williams a 24-23 edge, sophomore Emily Doll sent a serve long, keeping the Lord Jeffs alive. Later ahead 28-27 on a Baratta block, Williams took advantage of an Amherst ball-handling error, taking a commanding 2-0 match lead with a 29-27 second set triumph.
Behind 4-0 to start the third, the Lord Jeffs netted the frame's next seven points, going up three on a Meier block and consecutive Kanoff aces. Hoping to cut into the deficit, Williams came within two after a Doll service ace, but an Antion spike once again put Amherst up three at 16-13. An Eph error followed by a Reiser and Antion block then gave the Jeffs their biggest lead, forcing an Eph timeout.
Trailing 21-14 after consecutive Meier and Antion spikes, Williams scored the stanza's next two points to momentarily stem the Amherst tide. With the Ephs crawling back within four at 24-20, Hunter snuck a kill just inside the right line, sealing the set victory.
Tied at six early in the fourth, Amherst rattled off four straight points, building a four point cushion on consecutive Hunter and Kanoff kills. Extending their margin to 16-10 after another Kanoff spike, Antion hammered home a kill of her own, putting the Jeffs up seven. Reeling off four-straight points, Williams pulled back within three before a Meier kill slowed the surging Ephs.
Undaunted, Williams continued to go on the offensive, coming within two at 22-20 forcing an Amherst timeout. Clinging onto a one-point lead at 24-23 and able to regroup following the stoppage, Antion closed it out, notching her 17th kill of the match to force a fifth-set.
Miller opened up scoring in the tiebreaker with a cross court kill before a Williams error put Amherst on the board. Down 6-3, the Jeffs netted consecutive points before Meier knotted things up, dropping a kill just inside the backline.
Doll responded with a spike of her own to put the Ephs back on top, before a Williams attack error once again tied it. Going up three on two more Doll kills, the Ephs stretched their lead to 10-7.
Needing to rally, the Jeffs scored four of the match's next five points to tie things up at 11. An Eph attack error put Amherst up one before an Antion block made it 13-11. After an Eagon kill cut the Jeff lead to one, Kanoff slotted a spike just inside the left sideline to make it game-point. Staying alive, Williams answered with consecutive points deadlocking the set at 14. Meier put Amherst back up one before hammering home another kill to complete the Jeffs' thrilling comeback win.
Antion set a new career-high with 18 kills, hitting .316, while also adding eight blocks and seven digs. Kanoff finished with eight kills and 19 digs, while Hunter added six kills and six blocks. Junior setter Callie Neilson (Escondido, Calif.) dished out 53 assists, while collecting 11 digs. Kristin Keeno '13 (Honolulu, Hawaii) finished with a match-best 30 digs in defense, while Reiser added seven blocks.
Rasmussen paced the Williams attack with 16 kills, while Miller and Baratta added 15 spikes apiece, combining for 22 digs. Doll had 11 kills, while first-year setter Amanda Schott had a match-high 54 assists. Aly McKinnon '12 led the Ephs in digs with 26.
Amherst continues play at this weekend's NESCAC Quad at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 against Hamilton. Williams will face Middlebury in the day's first match slated for 11 a.m.