MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The No. 16 Wesleyan women's volleyball team swept Wellesley (25-14, 25-15, 28-26) and Bowdoin (25-18, 25-20, 25-15) on Saturday afternoon in the Wesleyan Invitational at Silloway Gymnasium.
With the wins, the Cardinals open the season with a perfect 3-0 mark. The Blue, after defeating Rhode Island College later in the day, are now 3-1, while the Polar Bears dropped to 1-2. Wesleyan's match against the defending NESCAC Champions, Bowdoin, did not count towards the conference standings.
WELLESLEY MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals' strong play from last night carried over into the first set as Wesleyan scored the first five points. Later in the set, the home team went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 17-5, essentially putting the match out of reach.
- Wesleyan went up 2-0 to start the second and never looked back. With a 19-14 lead, the Cardinals outscored Wellesley 6-1 down the stretch as a kill by Gabby Bennett sealed the victory. It was Wesleyan's most efficient offensive set as the Cardinals hit .419 as a team with 15 kills and only two errors.
- The third set featured a thriller as the Blue wouldn't back down easily. They scored the first point to take their first lead of the match but Wesleyan rallied late and went ahead 17-10. Wellesley bounced back, and trailing 24-21, the Blue scored four consecutive points to go ahead 25-24. After some brief back-and-forth action, the Cardinals scored three-straight points to claim the match.
- Nicole Hilton led the Cardinals with nine kills on a .692 clip. Mia Hogan added eight kills and Bennett totaled six. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 24 assists and totaled 12 digs, while Phia Bellizzi added 12 digs of her own and Jenna Otaola registered 10.
- Lauren Gedney led all players with 13 kills for Wellesley, while Izzy Seebold tallied 29 assists and 10 digs, and Meghan Shoop registered a match-high 16 digs.
BOWDOIN MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
- The first set featured some back-and-forth action until Wesleyan used a 7-0 run to go ahead 20-10, essentially putting the set away. The Cardinals held Bowdoin to just 10 kills and a .021 hitting percentage.
- In the second, the Polar Bears took a 10-9 lead but Hogan registered a kill shortly after to put the home team ahead, 11-10, and Bowdoin never regained an advantage. The visitors cut the deficit to two, 20-18, but Wesleyan rallied down the stretch with a 5-2 run to claim the set.
- Following a point by the Polar Bears in the third which got them within three, 13-10, Wesleyan scored nine of the next 11 points to claim a decisive 22-12 advantage. Back-to-back kills by Litinsky and Harper Graves sealed the victory.
- Litinsky led all players with 11 kills, while recording a .348 hitting percentage, and Bella Ahearn added nine. Muraoka-Robertson posted a match-high 33 assists including 10 digs, and Bellizzi led the defensive efforts with an incredible 24 digs while Guidotti added 10.
- Three players recorded eight kills for the Polar Bears – Danielle Abrams, Sophia Pahl, and Ashley Williams. Kate Kiser totaled 27 assists and nine digs, while Emily King led the team with 18 digs and Pahl added 10. Abrams and Williams each totaled four block assists.
HEAD COACH BEN SOMERA:
"These are two great team wins against quality regional opponents and I believe the depth of our team is continuing to pay dividends. In our own training environment, our attackers and defenders have to work very hard to be successful against each other and that effort and mindset is becoming a habit that we take to our opponents."
"Our defense really showed up today and competed well. We only missed four serves on the day and that gave our defense a lot of opportunities to play out rallies and log the tendencies of our opponents. I was pleased with the effort and maturity our team showed in maintaining focus and executing our systems."
- Wesleyan is back in action Friday, Sept. 13 as the Cardinals host Vassar beginning at 7 p.m.