BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team captured the final two sets Sunday afternoon, defeating Mitchell College 3-2 in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's volleyball action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
SVC took the opening frame 25-18 before the visiting Mariners came back to get an edge in the match with 27-25 and 25-19 wins in the second and third, respectively. The Mountaineers pushed the contest to the deciding game with a 25-16 victory in the fourth and then finished off the triumph by winning the fifth by a 15-9 margin.
The victory is the first for Southern Vermont both in league play and on its home court this season, extending the Mountaineer's win streak over Mitchell to six straight matches.
Southern Vermont junior Brin Goldman amassed a career-high 20 kills in the win to lead all players while adding 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the year. Freshman Alycia Stevens followed with a season-high 15 kills to go with 15 digs for her fourth double-double, adding five service aces from behind the line. Freshman Lizzy Bench had a match-best six service aces including two that came during a 5-2 SVC stretch that closed out the contest; she also provided 13 digs on the defensive side for the hosts.
SVC senior setter Sheilani Kaleopa popped up 37 assists while also registering five digs and three service aces on the day. Freshmen Kristy Goldup and Hailee Walker pitched in defensively with nine and seven digs, respectively.
Mitchell was led by senior captain Amanda Garcia who tallied 11 kills in the effort, adding four blocks and three service aces to her line. Sophomore Italia Krick was right behind her with a career-best 10 kills while recording 10 digs for the double-double, and senior libero Kaisea Caramante knocked up a match-best 24 digs on the day. Senior captain Nicole Caminiti chipped in 14 digs while facilitating the Mariners' offense with 36 assists.
The opening set was a back-and-forth battle that saw neither side lead by more than two until the latter part of the frame. Mitchell scored three straight with two consecutive kills to go up 14-12, but the Mountaineers then went on an 8-1 run to pull ahead, with Goldman and Stevens each landing two kills in that stretch. Stevens then registered three more points during a 5-2 SVC spurt that won the set, putting down a pair of kills before serving up an ace to grab the game victory.
Caminiti and Garcia each had a kill in the early part of the second while the Mariners scored three unanswered points to go up 7-5, but Southern Vermont answered with a 4-1 run to go on top. Mitchell grabbed the next two points to regain the upper hand (10-9), only to see the Mountaineers score the next five points behind Bench's service to grab the momentum. Mishaps from both teams set the score at 18-16 in favor of SVC, but that would be the last time Southern Vermont would lead through the rest of the game. A pair of kills and two Garcia aces highlighted a 7-0 MC run that nearly won it; however, the Mountaineers would not go quietly as they were able to extend the set with a 6-1 stretch. Finally, a kill by senior Emily Stracuzzi preceded Caramante ripping across an ace to end the stanza and tie the match at 1-1.
Neither side could pull away once again in the third until Mitchell got some separation with four unanswered points to go up 14-10. Each team got its points as the set continued before Krick and Stracuzzi put down kills during a 3-0 run that put the Mariners on top 21-15. Southern Vermont was able to keep it close with three unanswered of its own late in the game, but Stracuzzi and junior Amanda Rowan registered kills to close out the set 25-19 for the match advantage.
On the edge of defeat, SVC fought back to extend the contest in the fourth. Goldman put down a kill and an ace to put her team up 10-4, and Stevens then started a 3-0 run that put the Mountaineers up by eight (13-5). Krick tallied two straight kills as Mitchell came back with a 4-1 spurt, only to have Southern Vermont go on an 8-1 tear that was started with Bench landing a kill before serving up a pair of consecutive aces. Down 22-10, MC came back with a 6-1 run to close the gap, but an SVC timeout stopped the Mariners' momentum as Goldman came out of the stoppage and put down a kill and then an ace for the match equalizer.
Caramante served up the first three points for Mitchell to start the deciding fifth, with Garcia registering kills for the first two of those points. Not to be deterred, SVC came back with five unanswered behind a Goldman kill and two Stevens aces. The teams traded scores until two straight for Mitchell made it an 8-8 affair, but Stevens sent down another two kills during a 3-1 Southern Vermont run that put the hosts in front. Bench then went behind the service line and sandwiched another two Stevens kills with a pair of aces to put the game away and give SVC the league victory.
The conference schedule continues for both teams on Wednesday, October 14 as SVC (2-9, 1-2 NECC) heads to Becker College for a 7 p.m. first serve while Mitchell (2-9, 1-2 NECC) hosts Newbury College at 6 p.m.