POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar College women’s volleyball team honored its four seniors prior to its regular season finale on Saturday afternoon. The Brewers (15-9) then sent Lydia Bailey, Devan Gallagher, Annie MacMillan and Lauren Ninkovich out as winners, as they topped New Rochelle (11-15) by a 25-17, 25-13, 26-24 count at Kenyon Hall.
After the pregame festivities concluded, the Brewers claimed the first three points of the match. New Rochelle rallied to tie it at 6-6 before Vassar went on another 3-0 rally to regain the lead, 9-6. However, the Blue Angels responded with seven straight points to take a 13-9 advantage. The Brewers answered back, though, getting a block from Jennifer Kerbs that sparked a 14-3 spurt that made it 23-16. A New Rochelle service error brought Vassar to set point, and MacMillan had a serve hit the tape and bounce over for an ace that closed out the frame, 25-17.
In the second set, Vassar took control from the start, racing out to a 12-3 advantage. New Rochelle got back within six at 14-8 before the Brewers went on a 5-2 run to bring their lead back to nine points, 19-10. Vassar hit .310 (12 kills, three errors, 29 attempts) in the set, cruising to an easy 25-13 win to go up 2-0 in the match.
There were 13 ties and five lead changes in the third set, as the teams traded runs. New Rochelle went up 14-10 before Vassar countered with a 9-2 spurt to pull ahead 19-16. The Blue Angels then scored eight of the next 11 points, reaching set point at 24-22. Jane McLeod responded with back-to-back kills to tie it, and MacMillan followed with an ace that gave the Brewers their first match point opportunity. And one match point was all Vassar would need, as McLeod slammed home another kill to finish off the set, 26-24, and the 3-0 sweep.
McLeod paced the Brewers with 13 kills, and she hit .423 in the match. Sara Ehnstrom finished with 11 kills, while Kerbs tallied nine kills. Ninkovich just missed a double-double in her final home match, posting eight kills and 10 digs to go along with three service aces. MacMillan had four aces of her own while also notching 39 assists and seven digs. Anna Zucchero collected a match-high 18 digs and Claire Bialek added 13 digs, as Vassar outdug New Rochelle 54-45. The Brewers’ team hitting percentage was .239 (41-15-109).
For New Rochelle, Imani DeBose led the way with eight kills and 12 digs. Simaima FukoFuka added seven kills, while Stephanie Garcia recorded 12 digs. Sierra Plum tallied a team-high 13 assists and Milinett Gonzalez added 11 assists for the Blue Angels, who hit .087 (28-19-104) as a team.
Vassar is seeded third in the Liberty League Tournament, which takes place next weekend in Ithaca, NY. The Brewers (4-3 Liberty) take on second-seeded RIT (26-4, 6-1 Liberty) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. on Friday, with the winner advancing to meet either Ithaca or Clarkson for the championship.