Wesleyan defeated Bowdoin, 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 25-18) in the opening round of the NESCAC Tournament hosted by top-seeded Tufts Fri., Nov. 7, to advance to the conference semi-finals Sat., Nov. 8. The Cardinals, seeded second, will meet Amherst, seeded third, which knocked off Conn. College in five sets in its first-round matchup. The other semi-final features host Tufts vs. fourth-seeded Williams. The championship match for an automatic bid to the NCAAs will take place Sun., Nov. 9 at noon.
Meeting Amherst Sat., Nov. 1 in Middletown in a showdown for the second seed in the NESCAC tournament, Wesleyan made it two victories over the Lord Jeffs at home this season, taking a 3-1 decision. The Cardinals used dominating streaks in each of the sets they won to put Amherst away, each time coming from behind to do so. After losing the first set, 25-21, Wesleyan used a 7-0 run to erase a 14-12 deficit for a 19-14 lead en route to a 25-17 win in the second set. The spurt was even more dramatic in the third set as Wesleyan pulled away with nine straight points as part of a 12-1 streak to turn a 9-8 deficit into a 20-10 lead and eventually a 25-19 victory. Down 9-4 in the fourth set, the Cardinals flew past their visitor with a 13-3 run for a 17-12 edge. The set ended 25-20 to give Wesleyan the match. As a team Wesleyan hit with a phenomenal .356 efficiency, led by Ashley Farrow '10, who had 15 kills and a .444 percentage while Lisa Drennan '09 (#7, photo insert lower right courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) racked up 22 kills with a .429 percentage. She improved her NESCAC-leading figure to 4.72 kills per set and has recently been named a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District I first-team Academic All-American. None of this would have been possible without the precision setting of Ellie Healy '10 (#10, main photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com), as she totaled 50 assists in the match, improving her conference-best average to 10.21. At the same time, the defense was getting a lift from Ruby Hernandez '11 (#1, photo insert lower left), who came through with 24 digs while upping her seasonal average to a team-best 4.71. The Cardinals completed the regular season with a 20-6 record, 8-2 in the NESCAC, to gain the second seed in the NESCAC tournament and a first-round contest vs. seventh-seeded Bowdoin Fri., Nov. 7 at Tufts.