MEDFORD, Mass. – Five total points were all that separated the sides in the opening two sets as each team earned a victory, however the No. 5 seed Amherst College volleyball team came out in a big way in the next two stanzas, outscoring the Continentals 50 to 19 to clinch a 3-1 upset victory over fourth-seeded Hamilton College Friday evening at Chase Gymnasium in a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest.
With the win, Amherst improves to 17-9 on the season, while Hamilton closes out the year at 14-9 overall. The Mammoths return to action tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 4 when they take on top-seeded Tufts beginning at 1 p.m. The tilt will mark Amherst's fifth consecutive NESCAC semifinals appearance.
SET 1: Hamilton 26, Amherst 24
The sides traded points to open the set, before the Continentals tallied seven unanswered points to earn a 12-7 edge. Two Hamilton attack errors and kills by Cameron Hendricks '20 and Claire Dennis '20 brought the Mammoths within two points with the score at 13-11. Amherst and the Continentals both strung together runs in the middle of the set, but Hamilton owned the advantage heading down the stretch, 23-20. Two attack errors and a clutch Dennis kill evened the score at 23-23 in the thriller of a stanza. Amherst retook the lead for the first time since the 7-5 mark behind an Asha Walker '18 ace, however Hamilton went on to secure the win, 26-24 following three strait points, including a Giuliana Rankin kill.
SET 2: Amherst 25, Hamilton 22
The second set opened in highly contested fashion, with the teams trading blows during a stanza that featured a tie score as late as the 21-21 mark, and eight deadlocks overall. Finishing strong, Amherst owned a 4-1 point differential to close out the win, with Walker drilling a service ace and Emily Kolsky '20, Hendricks and Daria Kim-Percy '21 each logging a kill.
SET 3: Amherst 25, Hamilton 11
The Mammoths jumped out to a quick 11-6 edge behind six kills and five Continental errors and refused to relinquish momentum, holding Hamilton to just five more points in the stanza. With the score set at 15-10 in favor of the fifth-seed, Amherst took complete control. Outscoring the Continentals 10-1 to secure the victory, the Mammoths posted the final five points of the stanza, with kills by Marialexa Natsis '18, Kolsky and Dennis directing Amherst to the 2-1 contest lead.
SET 4: Amherst 25, Hamilton 8
Amherst registered a match-best .357 hit percentage in what stood as the final stanza, as the Mammoths went on to record a 25-8 set win and lock up the upset 3-1 victory over Hamilton to advance to the NESCAC semifinals. Powering past Hamilton, Amherst went ahead 7-0 before the Continentals logged their first point of the set. Responding in a big way to the Hamilton point, the Mammoths downed 12 unanswered scores to take a dominant 21-1 lead. Two errors and a Natsis kill sealed Hamilton's fate, as the Mammoths earned a 25-8 set win.
- Natsis, Kim-Percy and Kolsky were the three top kill-getters of the match, posting 16, 15 and 12 kills, respectively, while Dennis and Hendricks chipped in nine kills each in a balanced offensive attack.
- With 56 assists, Charlotte Duran '20 led all players. Walker finished the day with three aces, while Hayes Honea '19 added two more service aces for Amherst.
- Honea led the contest with 32 digs for the Mammoths, while Walker chipped in 20 digs.
- Dorothy Poucher led the Continentals with 10 kills, while Erin Donahue and Courtney Brown tallied nine and eight kills, respectively. With 26 assists, Kyndal Burdin posted a team-high, while Christine Zizzi finished with 26 digs for Hamilton.
2017 NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Quarterfinals – Friday, Nov. 3 – hosted by Tufts University
No. 1 Tufts def. No. 8 Bates, 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19)
No. 2 Wesleyan def. No. 7 Williams, 3-0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-17)
No. 3 Bowdoin def. No. 6 Middlebury, 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-17, 27-25, 15-10)
No. 5 Amherst def. No. 4 Hamilton, 3-1 (26-24, 25-22, 25-11, 25-8)
Semifinals – Saturday, Nov. 4
No. 1 Tufts vs. No. 5 Amherst - 1 p.m.
No. 2 Wesleyan vs. No. 3 Bowdoin - 3:30 p.m.
Finals – Sunday, Nov. 5
Semifinal Winners – 12 p.m.