AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College used a 29-dig effort from Hayes Honea '19 and a 17-kill outing from Maggie Danner '17 as the Purple & White clinched a thrilling, 3-2 (18-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-10, 15-10) victory over Williams College – their first over the Ephs since 2012 – in Friday evening's NESCAC tilt at LeFrak Gymnasium.
With the win, Amherst improves to 6-2 on the season, 2-1 in league action, while Williams moves to 4-5 overall, 1-2 in NESCAC play. The Purple & White return to action Saturday for a non-conference tri-match with Babson College and Clark University beginning at 1 p.m. in Worcester, Mass.
In a back-and-forth contest that saw Williams claim the first set, 25-18, followed by a 25-17 win for Amherst in the second set, the Ephs took a 2-1 lead in the contest with a narrow, 25-23 win in the third frame.
The Purple & White responded in the fourth stanza by running out to an early 5-0 lead highlighted by a pair of Kate Bres '17 service aces and a kill from Marialexa Natsis '18. An attacking error by Amherst, followed by back-to-back kills from Tori Jasuta and Natalie Albright pulled Williams to within two (5-3), but the Purple & White quickly thwarted a comeback attempt as the hosts scored 11 of the next 13 points to stake a 16-5 cushion. Lauren Reppert '19 and Annika Reczek '18 capped the run with an assisted block, while Natsis added a pair of aces and a kill. Another stretch of six unanswered points helped Amherst post a 22-6 advantage before three kills by Ally Ostrow and one from Morgan Richman cut the lead to 22-10. From there, Reczek smashed a pair kills, and assisted Emily Kolsky '20 on a block to give the Purple & White a 25-10 win in the fourth set and even the match at 2-2.
Riding the momentum from the fourth stanza, Amherst scored the first three points of the deciding frame and extended their lead to 6-1. The Ephs answered by scoring seven of the next nine points to level the set at 8-8 before a pair of Williams errors, and two kills by Natsis allowed Amherst to notch a 12-8 lead. Erin Denham halted the run momentarily, but kills by Nicole Gould '17 and Natsis gave the hosts match point. Trailing 14-10, an Ephs service error completed the come-from-behind victory for the Purple & White.
- Danner led three Amherst players in double figures for kills with 17 and chipped in 13 digs. Reczek and Natsis added 11 and 10 kills respectively, while Gould finished with nine.
- Directing the attack were Bres and Charlotte Duran '20 who handed out 23 and 24 assists respectively. Bres added 14 digs and a pair of service aces.
- Honea led the Purple & White with 29 digs, followed by 19 from Kelci Keeno '17. Gould contributed 11 digs to give Amherst five players with double-digit digs.
- At the net, Reczek was a force, rising up for nine assisted blocks, while Kolsky and Reppert added four each.
- For the visitors, Jasuta was terrific in defeat, notching a team-high 17 kills and a match-best 32 digs. Alex Newton added 45 assists and 17 digs, while, Caitie Benell amassed 25 digs.
- Ostrow finished with 14 kills and 14 digs, Roxi Cobeil and Natlalie Albright registered eight and seven kills respectively in the losing effort.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- The win for Amherst is the team's first since the 2012 regular season when the Purple & White secured a 3-1 victory on Oct. 13 at LeFrak Gymnasium. The win halts a six-match winning streak for Williams against the Purple & White.