MEDFORD, Mass. – For the third-straight season, the Wesleyan volleyball team has advanced to the NESCAC Semifinals as the second-seeded Cardinals swept the No. 7 seed, Bates, by scores of 25-8, 25-17, and 25-22 on Friday night at the host school, Tufts.
Wesleyan, ranked No. 24 in the national polls, improved to 20-3 overall which marks the third consecutive season that the Cardinals have won at least 20 matches. It's also the second time in the 35-year history of the program that Wesleyan won 20-or-more matches in three-straight seasons, joining the 2000 to 2002 squads. Bates' year comes to an end with a 16-10 overall record.
- The Cardinals dominated the first set as they hit .643 as a team with nine kills and zero errors on 14 attempts. They trailed 3-1 early but used a 7-0 run to pull ahead and never look back.
- In the second set, Wesleyan trailed early once again, down 6-4. However, the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run and led the rest of the way. They scored four of the final five points en route to the 25-17 win.
- Bates came out strong in the third and jumped out to a 9-2 advantage. The Bobcats held a lead for the majority of the match until a 10-2 run by Wesleyan put the Cardinals on top 18-16. A kill from Sydney Phillips cut the deficit to one, 23-22, but back-to-back points by Wesleyan sealed the victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Nicole Hilton led Wesleyan with 12 kills and a .478 attack clip, recording just one error on 23 attempts, while Bella Ahearn totaled 10 kills and zero errors for a .556 hitting percentage. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 31 assists, while Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 16 digs, Jenna Otaola added 14, and Olivia Guidotti registered 13. Hilton also tallied four solo blocks and five total.
- Phillips recorded a team-high nine kills for Bates and Taylor Stafford-Smith added seven. Julia Panepinto dished out 11 assists and Emma Eide added 10, while Megan Seabury led the defense with 11 digs.
- Wesleyan will face the reigning NESCAC Champions, third-seeded Bowdoin, tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.