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No. 20 Wesleyan Defeats Volleyball in Three Sets

Grace McGee

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Connecticut College volleyball team dropped a NESCAC matchup to No. 20 Wesleyan by a 3-0 decision at Silloway Gymnasium on Thursday evening. Set scores were 25-14, 25-14, and 25-13. 

Sophomore Avery Light (Sudbury, Mass.) smashed a kill for the first point of the match, but Wesleyan quickly responded and jumped out to a 9-3 lead which prompted a Camel timeout. After the visitors came within five on two occasions, the Cardinals broke loose again and built up a double-digit advantage on a kill by Harper Graves which made it 17-7. Phia Bellizzi followed with back-to-back service aces, and the hosts were able to clinch the set on a kill by Bella Ahearn.

Connecticut College got off to a quick start during a competitive second set, as sophomore Eliza Wolcott (San Francisco, Calif.) recorded a kill and an ace to give the Camels a 3-1 edge out of the gates. The teams found themselves deadlocked four times, but the Cardinals went on another run and built up a 15-8 advantage to force another Camel timeout. The visitors were unable to come any closer than five the rest of the way, and Wesleyan rode a second streak of tallying six unanswered points in the frame to win it by 11.

Despite trailing by two sets, the Camels kept fighting and built up a 4-2 advantage in the third frame on a service ace by junior Katie Howley (Scituate, Mass.). The teams battled through four ties and a pair of lead changes, but it was the Cardinals who took back the momentum they had for most of the evening to eventually earn the sweep. Maddie Kurke broke a 10-all tie with a kill to begin a 5-0 run, and the visitors were unable to recover.

Wesleyan (8-1, NESCAC 2-1) was led by Kaira Muraoka-Robertson, who registered a double-double with 17 assists and 11 digs. Mia Jago added eight kills and hit at an .800 clip by not committing an error on 10 swings, while Bellizzi contributed 17 digs and four aces.

Howley notched four kills and 10 digs for Connecticut College in the setback. Light had five kills, and junior Elle Kass (Los Gatos, Calif.) matched a team high with 10 digs. Senior captain Grace McGee (Portland, Ore.) and junior McKaela Simons (Redmond, Wash.) combined for 14 assists.

Connecticut College (4-6, NESCAC 0-3) will continue a challenging stretch of playing eight straight games away from home when it treks to Clark for a tri-match against Wheaton and the host Cougars on Saturday afternoon. The Camels first face the Lyons at 1 p.m.