POUGHKEEPSIE – It was an outstanding home opener for the Vassar College women’s volleyball team as they swept in tri-meet action on Saturday at Kenyon Hall. The Brewers defeated Muhlenberg College, 3-1 in the opener, then won a 3-2 thriller over Morrisville State in the nightcap. VC moves to 3-3 on the season, while the Mustangs, who won the middle match by a 3-2 margin, are now 4-2. Muhlenberg closed out the day with a 1-5 record.
In the opening match against the Mules, Vassar found itself trailing by a 25-18 margin after the opening set. The Brewers rallied in the second though, battling back from a 24-21 deficit late to tie the match at 26-all on an attacking error from Muhlenberg senior outside hitter Laura Boll. Sophomore middle blocker Jamie Kesten pulled the home team ahead and Vassar pulled out the 28-26 victory following another Mules attacking error. In the third set, the Brewers jumped out to a quick lead, but Muhlenberg responded, going up 8-3 following a kill from sophomore outside hitter Megan Ray.
Vassar continued to trail in the set until a 6-2 run, which included a pair of kills by senior hitter Colette Cambey tied the match at 20-all. The Brewers continued that momentum straight through with a 5-1 clip over the stretch to earn the 2-1 lead. The final set saw the Brewers rally from down 5-3 for a 9-6 advantage after a timely kill from sophomore setter Madison Wilson. It proved to be a lead that Vassar would not relinquish over the remainder of the set to earn the match win.
Sophomore hitter Claire Basler-Chang recorded a team-high 15 kills, adding a match-best 21 digs as well. Cambey posted 12 kills with three block assists, while Wilson had nine kills, 24 assists, two service aces and 13 digs. Sophomore setter Sara Ehnstrom had eight kills with 26 assists and 14 digs, while sophomore libero Claire Bialek added 17 digs and three service aces.
For Muhlenberg, Ray recorded a match-high 17 kills, while senior outside hitter Tara Register had 13 kills. Junior libero Maya Illovsky notched a match-high 21 digs, while Boll had eight kills, four service aces – which led all players – along with 13 digs.
Following the middle match, which saw Morrisville State win by a 3-2 margin, the final match of the day paired the victorious Mustangs against the homestanding Brewers. The visitors claimed the opening set by a 25-20 margin, but Vassar rebounded in the second with a 12-8 lead after a Basler-Chang kill. The Mustangs tied the match and then took a lead (16-15) after a strike from senior right side Amelia Baratier, but the Brewers once again surged ahead behind Basler-Chang and a Morrisville State error enroute to a 25-22 set victory.
Vassar went up 2-1 in the match, but the visitors came roaring back in the fourth set, edging out VC 26-24 after five different tie-breaks. Senior outside hitter Megyan Merrill laid down a kill and the Mustangs took advantage of an attacking error to push it to a fifth and deciding set.
The final set proved to be the ultimate back-and-forth battle as neither team relinquished more than a two point lead throughout the frame. Vassar held a 11-10 lead on a pair of kills from Ehnstrom, but Morrisville State tied it once again and retook the lead on a Merrill strike. Locked in a 14-all tie, the Brewers saw Wilson and Ehnstrom lay down critical kills to seal the match victory.
Ehnstrom paced Vassar in the match with 17 kills. She also added 21 assists and 15 digs. Basler-Chang added 13 kills with 22 digs, while Wilson had seven kills and 32 assists. Bialek recorded a team-best 33 digs in addition to two service aces, while rookie defensive specialist Kasey Drake had a match-high five service aces. Cambey also chipped in with 11 kills and two block assists.
For Morrisville State, Merrill recorded a match-high 23 kills with 12 digs and three service aces. Bartier added 15 kills with 16 digs, while freshman setter Siobhan Moore had a match-high 45 assists with 13 digs.