BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Elms College women's volleyball team registered their first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) win with a 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-18) victory over host Southern Vermont College at the Mountaineer Athletic Center Tuesday night.
The Blazers held off a late SVC surge in the opening set to close it out by a 25-19 margin, and EC then rallied to comeback and edge the Mountaineers 26-24 in the second. Elms took a comfortable lead in the start of the third frame, one that the visitors would carry through the remainder of the match for the sweep.
The Mountaineers (1-9, 0-2 NECC) are next in action on Sunday when they welcome Mitchell College to the MAC for a 1 p.m. league contest. Elms (4-12, 1-1 NECC) now looks ahead to a Saturday Conference tilt at Newbury College, first serve scheduled for 11 a.m.
EC's balanced attack saw freshman Danielle Redding (Las Vegas, Nev.) lead the team with five kills while notching six service aces, five digs and three blocks. Senior captain Alexandra Mack (Wilbraham, Mass.) put up four kills and nine digs, and classmate Shannon Bolton (Shelton, Conn.) tied Stevens' 12 digs while adding 13 assists, three aces and a pair of kills. Freshman Rachel Magnuson (Miller Place, N.Y.) helped in the win with another four kills, four aces, three assists and three digs.
Southern Vermont junior captain Brin Goldman (Christiansted, Virgin Islands) led all players with 14 kills, adding 11 digs and a service ace to her line. Freshman Alycia Stevens (Hudson Falls, N.Y.) added eight kills and a match-best 12 digs while tallying three assists anda pair of aces. Senior captain Sheilani Kaleopa (Riverside, Calif.) had 25 assists, nine digs, three service aces and three kills, and freshman Lizzy Bench (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) had five kills and eight digs on the night. Freshman Hailee Walker (Cohoes, N.Y.) chipped in with seven digs and a kill in the effort.
SVC edged the Blazers 31-21 in total kills, but Elms had an advantage behind the line with 18 service aces to the Mountaineers' six.
Four straight EC points in the early going gave Elms a quick 5-1 lead in the first. Southern Vermont stayed close with a pair of kills and two aces to get within one (8-7), but an 11-1 Blazer run, highlighted by four consecutive aces from Redding, put the visitors in front by a 21-9 margin. Not to go quietly, however, the Mountaineers stormed back to get within four on the help of five team kills and a pair of aces during a 10-2 stretch. Up just 23-19, Elms was able to close it out for the game victory on two SVC mishaps to get the early upper hand in the match.
Goldman sandwiched a Bench kill with two of her own in the beginning of the second frame for SVC to take a 6-3 edge, and the Mountaineers would stay up by a 9-5 tally after two consecutive kills landed by Stevens. Four more Blazer service aces played a big role in Elms taking its first lead of the set, going up by four after a 9-1 run. Three straight Southern Vermont points would tie it at 16 apiece, and the teams traded scores back-and-forth down the stretch of the stanza. Kaleopa served up an ace to give her team a 24-22 game point, but Elms fought back with three unanswered on the back of two Redding kills to extend the period. A Mountaineer timeout didn't slow the Blazer momentum as sophomore Kate Moriarty (Agawam, Mass.) put down her first kill of the night to give Elms the 2-0 match advantage.
EC took the first three points of the third game and never trailed the rest of the way. A 3-0 SVC run, which included kills by Bench and Walker, made it a 9-7 Elms lead, but the visitors then took eight of the next nine points with the help of three service aces to go ahead 17-8. Bench landed two straight kills during a late 6-1 Southern Vermont spurt, but it would not be enough as the Blazers inched closer to victory. With the score set at 24-18, a Mountaineer rotation error made for an uneventful finish as Elms celebrated its first league win of the year.
The Blazers have now won the last two meetings between the sides to even the all-time series at 5-5.