On Friday, Sept. 23, the volleyball team battled against the Williams Ephs in the first Amherst-Williams rivalry game of 2022. The Mammoths started strong, winning the first two sets of the day. They crushed the Ephs in the first set, 25-15, with a kill to end the set, and a five-point run and final block by Kinsey Cronin ’26 and Caroline Tilton ’23 sealed the second set, this time by a score of 25-20. First-year Charlotte Rasmussen ’26 attributed the team’s early success to strong serve-receive passing, “which allowed us to run many offensive combos which worked to [force] the other team out of [their] system,” she said. However, Williams bounced back and adjusted their defense to the Firedogs’ attack, coming back and scoring the last four points to take the third set 25-21. The fourth set was excruciatingly close, and a good block by Amherst slowed down Williams’ momentum, extending the length of the set, but ultimately Williams closed the door, winning a marathon set 34-36. The Mammoths ultimately ran out of gas, and Williams led from start to finish in the last set, defeating the Mammoths 15-9 and taking the 3-2 win.
Despite the loss on Friday, Amherst bounced back with two wins against Gordon College and River University on Saturday, Sept. 24, to end the weekend 2-1.
After losing the first set to the Fighting Scots of Gordon College, Amherst started the second set strong. Junior Ava O’Connor ’24 capitalized on her serve, earning the Mammoths six points and a lead that Amherst held onto to take the second set 25-20. In the next set, Gordon College capitalized on a six-point lead of their own to go up 2-1. But, Amherst came back to win the last two sets of the game, ultimately winning the three sets required to win their first game of the day.
With momentum from the previous game on their side, Amherst finished Saturday by crushing River University in four sets, 3-1. After cruising to a first-set win, the Mammoths held a 4-1 lead in the second set. But this one ended up being much closer, with the Raiders and the Mammoths battling to tie after tie throughout the set, keeping the intensity and energy high in LeFrak Gymnasium. After ties of 6-6, 10-10, and 20-20, the Raiders finally took the set 25-22. The Mammoths bounced back, though, and sophomore Lizzie Papalia ’25 served a pair of aces to lead the team to a 25-23 victory in the third set. After a long weekend, Amherst finished strong to win the fourth set, and left LeFrak with a four-set victory.
Amherst hosts two big NESCAC games in LeFrak next weekend. The Mammoths take on Bowdoin next Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. and Connecticut College next Saturday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m.