Amherst Closes Out Homecoming with Pair of Volleyball Victories

Amherst Closes Out Homecoming with Pair of Volleyball Victories

AMHERST, Mass. – The 2017 Homecoming weekend included a busy two days in LeFrak Gymnasium, and the Mammoths women's volleyball team closed out their Hall of Fame Tournament in style with a pair of wins, 3-0 over Coast Guard Academy and 3-1 over WPI.

The Mammoths improve to 14-9 on the year and should use these games as tune-up for their final weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, which begins Friday night when they host Bates at 8:00 PM.

Game 1: Amherst 3, Coast Guard 0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-22)

Amherst used ten kills apiece from Emily Kolsky '20 and Marialexa Natsis '18 to upend the Bears in straight sets.  The Mammoths jumped out in front 5-0 and never trailed in the opening set, extending their lead to 15-8 on a kill by Kolsky.

Daria Kim-Percy '21 notched one of her seven kills to bring the advantage to double-digits, and though a service ace by Heather Miller helped the Bears pull to within six, Claire Dennis '20 slammed home the deciding kill.

The Mammoths capitalized on their momentum and raced out to a 9-0 edge in set two, this time giving the Bears no hope of a comeback. A kill by Natsis made the lead 14-3, and sparked an eventual 5-1 run that saw it grow to 21-7.

Coast Guard, who was paced by eight kills from Bridget Boyle and 18 assists out of Makenna Martin, found their stride in the third set, and the teams traded points until the Bears held a 22-21 advantage.

Amherst avoided an extra set, however, with Natsis tying the game with her final kill of the night and the Mammoths going on a 4-0 run to end the game and the match.

Hayes Honea '19 had 13 digs to lead the Mammoths, while Kim-Percy added ten digs.

Boyle had eight digs to lead the Bears defensively as well.

Game 2: Amherst 3, WPI 1 (25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23)

Kolsky, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, had a massive performance, with 23 kills and a .538 hitting percentage, making just two errors on 39 attempts.

As a team, the Mammoths hit .328 and put themselves in the driver's seat by taking the first two sets, both closely contested affairs.

Amherst actually led the first set 19-11 before WPI put together a 6-0 run served by Ann Kaczowka to pull themselves back in the match. Kolsky righted the ship with a kill and added three more kills to close out the set.

Set two was a more back and forth affair, with the teams trading points from 16-16 to 23-23, but a crucial kill by Kolsky and an attack error by the Engineers shifted the momentum solidly in favor of the Mammoths.

Not going quietly, WPI pulled away in the third set with a service ace by Azita Bakhtyari and kills by Sarah Kwatinetz the catalysts for a 5-0 run that opened up a 14-6 lead. WPI finished the match on a 5-1 run, with three kills from Melissa Daigle during that spurt.

Committed to settling the score in four sets, Amherst led 6-0 in the fourth behind three kills from Kim-Percy. WPI took the lead on an Ann Kaczowka service ace at 20-19 and again led on an ace by Colleen Mullins at 22-21, but the Mammoths turned to Kolsky again and she delivered three of the final four points to cap her stellar day.

Honea had 16 more digs to her resume, and Charlotte Duran '20 posted 44 assists in the win. Kim-Percy went for 11 kills and ten digs, and Claire Dennis added eight kills and was in on five block assists.

Mullins and Daigle paced the Engineers with 13 kills each, while Bakhtyari had a double-double with 48 assists and 13 digs