Kim Farris '14 Continues Hot Hitting with 18 Kills, Claire Larson '15 Has 39 Assists as Volleyball Upsets Previously Unbeaten Middlebury, 3-1, Then Downs Hamilton
Wesleyan stunned previously undefeated Middlebury, handing the Panthers a 3-1 loss Fri., Oct. 4, while the Cardinals won their third match in a row this season after a 2-9 start. The 10-0 start for Middlebury this year was its best in program history.
Kim Farris '14 (#2, right side photo), named NESCAC Player of the Week Sept. 30, paced Wesleyan with 18 kills as she leads the NESCAC in kills per set this season with 4.4. She hit well with a .325 efficiency on the night. Claire Larson '15 (#13, left side photo) collected 39 assists. Monica Leslie '14 and Sara Warnock '15 both had three blocks for the winners. Kate Centofanti '14 added 10 kills for the Cardinals with Abby Southam '16 chipping in with seven. As a team, the Cardinals hit effectively with a .293 efficiency.
Though Middlebury had won eight of the last 10 meetings of the teams, Wesleyan and Middlebury came into the match tied in the all-time series, 11-11. Wesleyan took the opening set 25-22, winning the final four points after trailing 22-21. Centofanti had a pair of kills down the stretch including the clincher. Middlebury rolled to a 25-11 victory in the second set, getting off to an early 6-1 lead. The margin grew to 17-7 and the Panthers coasted in from there. The third set also came down to the final stage as Wesleyan took a 22-20 lead, then got three of the final four points for the 25-21 win. Wesleyan seemed poised to make it a quick fourth set and wrap up the match, holding a 19-12 lead, but the Panthers went on a 7-2 run to narrow the difference to 21-19. Farris then got the next three Wesleyan points with a pair of kills and an ace as the Cardinals held a 24-21 margin. Middlebury staved off one match point but a smart hit on the second ball by Larson for a kill made it a 25-22 Wesleyan win in the fourth set.
Wesleyan closed out the NESCAC weekend at home Sat., Oct. 5 against Hamilton. Again, thre Cardinals prevailed, 3-1, their fourth win in a row. Farris had a match-high 16 kills, while Centofanti had a dozen kills to go along with 15 digs in the 26-24, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19 triumph.
The Cardinals built a 19-15 lead in the first set before the Continentals made a run, actually taking a 22-21. But the Cardinals rallied and a late kill by Leslie, followed by a block by Centofanti and Leslie gave Wesleyan the set. Hamilton roared back to take the second set rather easily, using a 7-2 run late to put it away.
Wesleyan started the third set strong, leading 10-6, before Hamilton used a 7-1 run to take a 13-11 lead. That was when Brittany Lo '15 took control of the set for the Cardinals. She ripped off eight straight points on her serve during a 9-0 run to give Wesleyan a 20-13 lead that it would carry into a 2-1 lead. Hamilton took a 6-2 edge early in the fourth set, but Wesleyan eventually tied it a 12-12 and took the lead on a Centofanti kill that was set up by Sara Warnock '15. With the set tied at 15-15, Lo won another three straight points on her serve to give Wesleyan a lead it would never relinquish en route to the clincher.
Wesleyan returns to action Fri., Oct. 11, traveling to Colby for another NESCAC matchup.