MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – After dropping the first set, the 19th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team rallied with three-straight wins to defeat Hamilton on Saturday afternoon in its final NESCAC match of the regular season, 3-1. The Cardinals won by scores of 24-26, 25-20, 25-18, 25-22.
With the win, the Cardinals improve to 19-2 overall and conclude the regular season with a 9-1 NESCAC mark, matching a program record for the second consecutive season and third time overall (2001, '18, '19). The loss drops the Continentals to 10-11 and 3-5.
- Trailing 11-7 in the first set, Hamilton went on a 10-2 run to pull ahead. The Cardinals answered with a 7-2 run of its own to take a 20-19 lead. After some back-and-forth action, consecutive errors by the Continentals put Wesleyan ahead 24-23. However, Hamilton scored three-straight points to seal the win and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
- The Cardinals went on a 6-0 run early in the second set to grab an 11-7 advantage. They would lead the rest of the way despite strong play from the Continentals to keep the score close. A kill from Nicole Hilton sealed the win.
- Hamilton never led in the third and a 4-0 stretch by the home team gave the Cardinals some cushion late in the set as they led 20-14. Wesleyan closed out the third with three-straight points to pull ahead in the match, 2-1.
- The visitors came out strong in the fourth and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. However, Wesleyan answered with a 7-1 run. Tied at 11-11, the Cardinals went on another run as they scored four unanswered points, which put them ahead for good. The Continentals got within two down the stretch following a kill from Deirdre Corrigan but Bennett answered with a game-winning kill.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Maddie Kurke provided instant offense for the Cardinals in the second set and helped shift the momentum as she finished with a team-high 13 kills in three sets. Mia Hogan joined in her double-figures with 11 and Hilton totaled nine. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson registered a double-double with 30 assists and 11 digs, while Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 31 digs and Jenna Otaola added 11. Hilton also totaled six blocks and Bennett recorded five.
- Giuliana Rankin led Hamilton with a match-high 20 kills and just one error for a .396 hitting percentage. Corrigan added 15 kills, while Emma Parkhurst totaled 37 assists and 12 digs. Nikki Matsuoka led the team with 31 digs, Corrigan added 17, Kayla Self totaled 12, and Kendall Searcy finished with 10.
- Wesleyan wraps up its regular-season schedule next Saturday, Nov. 2 on Homecoming Weekend as the Cardinals host Ithaca at 12 p.m. Prior to the start of the match, Wesleyan will honor its seven-member senior class.