MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The 20th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team lost to Ithaca in five-sets on Saturday afternoon in the team's regular-season finale. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the match with wins of 25-21 and 25-22, but the Bombers responded with three-straight victories of 25-23, 25-18, and 15-10.
The loss is Wesleyan's first since September 27 and snaps an incredible 11-match win streak. The Cardinals are now 19-3 overall on the season while Ithaca improves to 17-8 following an impressive performance by Reagan Stone who totaled 33 kills and 17 digs.
Prior to the start of the match, Wesleyan honored its eight-member senior class; Gabby Bennett, Olivia Guidotti, Nicole Hilton, Mia Hogan, Sophie Karolczak, Stasie Litinsky, Kaira Muraoka-Robertson, and student manager Fallon Konow. The Class of 2020 is the winningest class in program history and owns an overall record of 76-23 (.768) and 32-8 (.800) NESCAC mark. This class has helped guide Wesleyan to its first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance, a NESCAC Championship, and three-straight Little Three titles.
- The first set went back-and-forth often. Trailing 22-19, Ithaca responded with back-to-back points but the Cardinals closed out the frame with a 3-0 run as a kill from Mia Hogan sealed the win.
- Midway through the second, Wesleyan scored four unanswered points to go ahead 16-10. The Bombers mounted a comeback late with a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to one, but the home team scored three of the next four points to gain a 2-0 lead in the match.
- After some back-and-forth action in the third, Ithaca went on a 5-0 run to take a 16-12 lead. The Cardinals scored five of six points to tie the match at 23-23, but Ithaca recorded back-to-back points to win the third.
- A 6-0 rally by the Bombers in the fourth gave them a 15-10 lead and they never looked back. They went on to win 25-18 to force a decisive fifth set.
- Wesleyan went ahead 10-9 in the final set but wouldn't score again as the visitors scored six unanswered points to seal the comeback victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hogan led the Cardinals with 16 kills while Nicole Hilton added 13 and Bella Ahearn totaled 10. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 39 assists and totaled 15 digs, while Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 23 digs and Jenna Otaola and Olivia Guidotti added 14 and 10, respectively.
- Stone was the only player for the Bombers with double-digit kills but Alison Lipton and Jennifer Pitts added nine each. Caitlyn Floyd dished out a match-high 58 assists and recorded 12 digs and four blocks. Stone, Hannah Hughes, and Jordyn Lyn Hayashi all totaled 17 digs.
- With a 9-1 NESCAC record, Wesleyan earned the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Tournament and will play seventh-seeded Bates in the quarterfinals Friday, November 8 at Tufts. The match is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.