Danner, Gould Lead Jeffs Past Middlebury, 3-1

Danner, Gould Lead Jeffs Past Middlebury, 3-1

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AMHERST, Mass. – Sophomores Maggie Danner and Nicole Gould registered 17 and 16 kills, respectively, to help lead the Amherst College volleyball team to a 3-1 come-from-behind win Friday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.

With the win, the Jeffs improved to 10-4 overall and 2-3 in the NESCAC, while Middlebury dropped to 4-6 on the year and 1-2 in league play.

Danner posted a match-high 17 kills with a .357 hitting percentage, and Gould finished with 16 kills and a .371 hitting percentage. Nicole Carter '16 dished out a team-high 21 assists and Kate Bres '17 added 20. Katie Warshaw '16 recorded a double-double with 27 digs and 10 assists.

Three Panthers registered double-digit kills. Olivia Kolodka led the way with 13 followed by Piper Underbrink and Becca Raffel with 11 and 10, respectively. Hannah Blackburn recorded a match-high 41 assists, while Lizzy Reed led the team with 20 digs. 

The Jeffs came out hot to start the match and jumped out to a 7-0 lead in set one. However, Middlebury retaliated and scored 14 of the next 19 points to force an Amherst timeout. Following the break, the Jeffs snapped a five-point Middlebury streak and regained the lead after a visitor error, 15-14. The Panthers then scored 11 of the next 12 points to take the set, 25-16, and a 1-0 lead in the match.

Middlebury took a 2-0 advantage in the second set but a kill from Lizzie Ahern '16 followed by an ace from first-year Asha Walker evened the score. Trailing 6-4 shortly after, a kill by Maggie Danner '17 started a six-point rally by the Jeffs as they pulled ahead, 10-6. Amherst eventually took a seven-point lead and never looked back. Nicole Gould '16 put the home team ahead, 16-9, as Amherst held off a late rally by the Panthers to take the set (25-20) and even the match, 1-1. 

Consecutive kills by Kolodka and Melanie English, respectively, gave Middlebury a 5-1 lead in the third set until Danner's spike sparked a four-point run to even the score. Later in the set, Marialexa Natsis '18 recorded consecutive kills to force a Middlebury timeout as Amherst took a three-point lead, 14-11. A trio of kills from Samantha Newby '16, Danner, and Walker late in the set helped the Jeffs pull away as Gould sent one through the middle of the Panthers lineup for the 25-16 win.

Trailing 2-1 in the match, Middlebury jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. After cutting the deficit to one, a kill by Charlotte Devine put the Panthers up 11-9. Middlebury eventually grabbed a six-point lead midway through the set until a service error broke up the rally. Consecutive kills by Gould narrowed the margin to three but two straight points from the Panthers forced an Amherst timeout. Following the break, the Jeffs rallied and scored nine of the final 11 points en route to the 25-22 win. Danner tallied five kills in the final eight points of the set to highlight the rally. 

Amherst returns to the court Saturday, Oct. 4 to host Hamilton at 2 p.m.