Score: Wesleyan 3, Middlebury 2 (23-25, 25-17, 14-25, 25-22, 15-7)
Records: Wesleyan (4-1, 2-0 NESCAC); Middlebury (3-3, 1-1 NESCAC)
Location: Middletown, Conn. (Silloway Gymnasium)
Date: Saturday, September 17
Time: 2 p.m.
The Lead: Trailing 2-1, the Wesleyan University volleyball team rallied behind excellent play from Madeleine Lundberg '19 and Stasie Litinsky '20 to take sets four and five by scores of 25-22 and 15-7, respectively, en route to a thrilling come-from-behind win over NESCAC rival Middlebury Saturday afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- An intense first set went back-and-forth often. Consecutive kills from Gabby Bennett '20 and Lundberg matched the highest lead of the set for the Cardinals as they went ahead, 21-18. However, a kill from Emily Kolodka led to a 7-2 run by the Panthers as they prevailed, 25-23.
- Wesleyan evened the match at 1-1 with an impressive second set. Ahead 16-15, the Cardinals closed out the set with a 9-2 run led by two kills from Sarah Swenson '18.
- It was all Middlebury in the third as they took a 2-1 lead with a 25-14 win.
- A thrilling fourth set featured eight ties and six lead changes. Trailing by one, 20-19, Wesleyan went on a 5-0 run behind two kills from Litinsky and one from Bennett. The Panthers got within two, but Lundberg forced a decisive fifth set with a kill off an assist from Audrey Konow '20 as the Cardinals took the fourth, 25-22.
- Wesleyan's momentum carried over into the fifth set as the home team jumped out to a 3-0 advantage. The Cardinals later increased their lead to eight, 12-4, to put the game out of reach. A kill by Swenson and a service error by the Panthers led to Wesleyan's 15-7 win to seal the come-from-behind victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The Cardinals were a force at net and recorded an incredible 32 block assists and one solo. Bennett led the way with one solo and 11 assists.
- Three players recorded double-digit kills for Wesleyan – Litinsky (12), Nicole Hilton '20 (11) and Swenson (10). Konow dished out a game-high 43 assists and Olivia Guidotti '20 registered a game-high 21 digs.
- Middlebury was led by Becca Raffel and Isabel Sessions with 17 and 14 kills, respectively. Chellsea Ferdinand posted 25 assists, while Rose Gold dished out 20. Also leading the way for the Panthers were Charlotte Devine with 20 digs, and Kolodka with 14.
- The Panthers totaled 56 kills with a .165 hitting percentage, while Wesleyan finished with 51 and a .195 mark.
HEAD COACH BEN SOMERA:
- "This match could have gone either way. We got hot at the right time and took care of our responsibilites at the right time and pulled out the win.
- "We had some timely attacking by Madeleine and Stasie in the fourth and fifth set after our middles had established themselves at the center of the net.
- "We had a few passing breakdowns along the way, but for the most part our pass-set rhythm was really solid."
- The Cardinals return to action Tuesday, Sept. 20 for a non-conference road match against Eastern Connecticut State at 7 p.m.
- Middlebury is scheduled to host St. Michael's Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.