TACOMA, WA – The Vassar College women’s volleyball team took on a pair of ranked opponents at the Puget Sound Premiere Saturday afternoon, testing both No. 16 Southwestern (TX) and No. 8 Carthage College before dropping both matches.
Vassar fell to Southwestern University in four games with scores of 25-18, 25-18, 11-25 and 25-19, while VC took Carthage to five sets, dropping a thrilling 25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 18-25 and 15-10 decision. The Brewers got some great hitting out of some underclassmen, as sophomore Devan Gallagher and freshman Jane McLeod were great offensively. McLeod was named to the Puget Sound Premiere All-Tournament Team for her outstanding play.
“The challenge of playing two ranked teams on the same day can be daunting, but we rose to the opportunity and played a lot of really high level ball,” said head coach Jonathan Penn. “ It stings to come away empty handed, but there is solace in the determination and promise we showed.”
No. 16 Southwestern 3, Vassar 1
On Friday evening, the Brewers led in five of the six sets they played in a pair of losses to Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran, and that trend continued. Vassar (0-4) was up at 8-7 after a dump kill by Annie MacMillan, but Southwestern chalked up eight straight points to take a 15-7 advantage in the opening set.
Vassar would put a 5-1 stretch together, thanks to a pair of terminations from senior Gabby Miller and Gallagher, but SU was able to regroup to take the first set 25-18. After the Pirates (3-0) took the second stanza, Vassar jumped out of the gate strong in the third game, earning a 6-0 lead on a solo block by Miller.
VC continued to grow its edge, thanks to the attacking from Gallagher, and Vassar trimmed the match deficit to 2-1 as it hit .471 to take the third game in emphatic fashion. Gallagher was once again great in the fourth set, but a 6-1 spurt by Southwestern proved to be enough to propel it to the match win.
Gallagher led all hitters in the match with 20 kills, posting a .364 hitting clip on her 44 swings. The 20 terminations were a career-high for the stellar sophomore, who eclipsed her previous mark of 17 set last year against Union College on October 17, 2015. It was also the first time since October 17, 2014 that a VC player has posted 20 or more kills, as Taylor Mosley accomplished the feat two seasons ago.
McLeod added 13 kills and five digs, while MacMillan finished with a huge double-double of 43 assists and 13 digs, which were both career-highs. Miller also chalked up a double-double, posting 10 kills and 13 digs, and fellow senior Sierra Tobin had a career and team-best 16 digs. Junior Alex Sams also posted five kills, two aces and five digs, while Bria Corham contributed six finishes and five defensive ups.
No. 8 Carthage 3, Vassar 2
Down two sets to none, the Vassar College squad rallied and showed heart to deadlock the match at two games apiece. In the end though, VC wasn’t able to pull the upset in falling to CC.
VC once again had a solid hitting performance for the match, posting a .204 offensive clip in the loss. Much of that was due to the effort of McLeod, who posted a whopping 22 terminations in the outing. The 22 kills by a Vassar player were the most in a match since Mosley also had 22 in a match against Swarthmore on September 15, 2013. McLeod’s total was also the most in a match for a freshman since Chloe McGuire put up 23 on September 26, 2009 against Colby.
After falling behind 2-0 in the match, Vassar started its comeback as Sams and Lauren Ninkovich each had two aces in the third set and Gallagher added five kills to make it 2-1. It was all McLeod in the fourth for Vassar, as the newcomer registered nine kills on 14 attempts to help bring VC back even. Tobin was also electric in the fourth game, digging up eight Carthage attempts.
In the final game, VC took an early 4-1 lead, as McMillan forced Carthage to take a timeout with a kill. CC came right back to tie the game at four, but Colette Cambey kept Vassar ahead with a kill. After that point, Carthage scored the next four to take an 8-5 edge. Miller stopped the run, but only momentarily as Carthage hit .476 in the final stanza to avoid the upset.
Gallagher bagged 14 kills, three digs and three assisted blocks in the loss, while Miller stuffed the stat sheet with 13 kills, 11 digs and seven assisted rejections. Tobin set her career-best in digs for the second straight game with 18, and freshman Jorden Schreeder also had a career-high 10 digs. MacMillan dished out 43 helpers, while Cambey posted five assisted blocks. VC had 11 total rejections in the five-set loss, which was the first match to go the distance for Vassar since the 2014 season, a stretch of 58 matches.