Williamstown, Mass. – With a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-15) victory over host Williams College, the Amherst College women's volleyball team earned the #4 seed in next weekend's New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament.
The Mammoths (19-5, 7-3 NESCAC) will battle #5 Middlebury in the quarterfinals next Friday night at 7:30 PM. The entire tournament will be hosted by Tufts University after the Jumbos secured the #1 seed with a perfect 10-0 conference record.
Sophie Launsbach '22 had nine kills, a .444 hitting percentage and was in on five blocks to help Amherst win their third straight game. Emily Kolsky '20 had a team-high 12 kills and 14 digs, while Claire Dennis '20 matched Launsbach with nine kills and had three blocks of her own.
In the first set, Williams held a 13-11 lead with help from senior Erin Denham (three kills), and sophomore Lydia Kurtz (four kills). However, a kill from Launsbach gave Amherst back the ball, and the Mammoths proceeded to go on four-point run to take the lead, 16-13. Williams took a timeout and forced a service error, but Launsbach answered with a kill to maintain a 17-14 lead and from there, Amherst controlled the rest of the set and was victorious, 25-17.
Amherst jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the second set with the help of three kills from Kolsky. Williams fought back with an 8-1 stretch, started by sophomore Olivia Hindy playing a ball off the Amherst block and maintained by the strong serving of Alexandra Newton.
Williams took the lead, 14-12 and the teams went back and forth until the Mammoths, ahead 23-22, responded with a kill from Jamie Dailey '21 and another from Dennis to clinch the set, 25-22.
In the third set, Amherst opened with a 5-0 run and Savage's two aces helped push the lead to 13-2. Amherst would only let the Ephs get to within eight points before a service ace from Acord and a kill by Dennis clinched the match.
Williams (14-10, 5-5 NESCAC), who honored their seniors before the match, are the #6 seed and will face Bowdoin at 7:30 PM Friday night in their own quarterfinal match.
Amherst is looking to get back to the NESCAC title match for the second consecutive year. They have been to the semifinals in each of the last six seasons and won the conference championship in 1999, 2000 and 2006.