Cardinals Come up Short in NESCAC Opener vs. Amherst, 3-1, Despite Just a One Point Differential Overall, Then Fall to Middlebury, 3-1
Hosting Amherst in the first of two NESCAC matches over the opening weekend of conference activity Fri., Sept. 16, the Cardinals fell to the Lord Jeffs, 3-1, though just a single point separated the two squads overall on the evening. Amherst captured the first, second and fourth sets by identical 25-23 counts while Wesleyan succeeded in the third frame with a 25-20 decision.
Monica Leslie '14 (#7, left-side photo) and Laura Volgenau '13 (#11, right-side photo) were the bg guns for Wesleyan up front as Leslie took match-high honors with 16 kills on the night while Volgenau contributed 12. Laura Yim '13 was on her game with 44 assists, an average of 11 per set. Volgenau also led the way with six blocks on the night while Kim Farris '14 was right behind with five. Tops in the digs department was Jeanne McPhee '13 with 14.
Wesleyan moved out to a comfortable lead in the initial set, gaining a 19-12 lead before Amherst recovered to tie, 23-23, and then win, 25-23. It was a different story in the second set at the Cardinals mounted a tremendous comeback after falling behind, 16-7, to forge a 23-23 deadlock. But again, the Lord Jeffs mustered the final two points for the win. In the third set, Wesleyan pulled away from a 9-9 tie to lead the rest of the way, and by as many as seven points, 24-17, en route to a 25-20 triumph. The fourth set was the closest down the stretch as neither team led by more than two points after the score stood 8-8 early on. The Lord Jeffs came up with four of the final six points after the teams were tied for the last time, 21-21.
Wesleyan closed out the NESCAC weekend by taking on Middlebury Sat., Sept. 17 in the last home NESCAC match of the year. Middlebury built sizable leads in the final three sets in coming away with a four-set win. The Panthers held a 15-5 margin in the second set, led 17-12 in the third stanza, and 14-6 in the final set on their way to wins of 25-11, 25-15 and 25-15. Wesleyan led throughout the first set with a 17-12 edge as the lead stayed in the three- to five-point range in the final stages en route to a 25-21 decision.
Middlebury hit with authority on the afternoon with a solid .326 percentage. For Wesleyan, Farris led with eight kills, a .438 hitting percentage, six aces and three blocks. Yim had 29 assists and McPhee picked up nine digs.
The Cardinals travel to the University of Chicago for a tournament over the weekend of Fri./Sat., Sept. 23/24, taking on Benedictine and Central (Iowa) on the opening day, followed by Elmhurst and Trinity Christian on the second day.