Cardinals Push Amherst to 4 Sets in Little Three Matchup but Come out on Short End of 3-1 Decision - Just Miss out on NESCACs after Loss to Williams
Wesleyan got 15 kills from Kate Centofanti '14 (#9, left side photo) and 10 kills from Kim Farris '14 (#2, right side photo) while Monica Leslie '14 (#7, middle photo) had a team-best five blocks as the Cardinals pressed Amherst to four sets in Little Three action Fri., Nov. 1, but fell to the Lord Jeffs, 3-1. Wesleyan resumed action with its final regular-season match Sat., Nov. 2, hosting Williams. A win combined with a Bates loss to Middlebury and a Colby loss to Tufts would have given Wesleyan the eighth and final spot in the NESCAC tournament. Williams came in 9-0 in NESCAC play, having clinched the top spot in the conference and with it, the right to host the NESCAC tournament Nov. 8-10. Wesleyan got the needed setbacks by Bates and Colby, but powerhouse Williams improved to 22-4 on the year with a 3-0 win.
Amherst held early 4-1 leads in both the first and second set before capturing wins of 25-15 and 25-19. Wesleyan recovered from the early deficit in set one, rallying for a 10-8 lead, but five straight Lord Jeffs points spotted Amherst a 13-10 lead and a 12-5 run to the end gave Amherst the 1-0 lead. Amherst never trailed in the second set though Wesleyan cut the difference to a lone point at 20-19. Amherst scored the final five points for the six-point victory. Wesleyan got off to a 10-3 start in the third set, advancing the lead to as many as nine (13-4). With the score 24-16, Amherst avoided set point four times to make it 24-20 before Farris put it away with a kill for the 25-20 triumph.
Amherst broke away from a 6-6 tie in the fourth set with a 6-1 run for a 12-7 edge. Wesleyan got no closer than three the rest of the way before Amherst locked up the match with a 25-17 win.
Libero Rachel Savage '17 had 17 digs to pace the Cardinals in that category while Claire Larson '15 had 23 assists.
Against Williams, the Cardinals fell 12-25, 18-25, 18-25. Wesleyan took and early 5-3 lead in the opening set, but Williams used a 15-3 run to take an 18-8 lead and pull away. Wesleyan held a 10-7 in the second set, but again fell prey to a big Ephs run as the visitors rattled off nine points in a row for a 16-10 lead as the teams played even the rest of the set. Wesleyan trailed just 17-14 late in the third set but three quick Williams points widen the gap to 20-14 and the Ephs added five of the next nine points to cinch the match.
Farris led the Wesleyan attack with eight kills in the match, while sCentofanti added six and Leslie five. Savage had eight digs.
Wesleyan closed out the year with an 8-15 overall record, 2-8 in NESCAC play. Farris led the squad with 3.74 kills per set while Leslie had a team-best .308 hitting efficiency. Centofanti ranked second on the team with 2.79 kills per set. Savage averaged 3.67 digs per set and Claire Larson '15 had a solid 8.34 assist average.
(photos by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)