Women’s volleyball team sweeps Colby College

By Charleston Fallon

The Emerson women’s volleyball team swept a doubleheader against Colby College on Saturday as a part of a doubleheader taking place on Family Weekend—improving the team’s record to 12-6 on the season.

The Lions have had a strong serving presence in the 2021 season, which flourished at the beginning of the match. To start the first set, sophomore libero Caroline Davis had two aces putting the Lions in a 5-1 lead.

As the game progressed, several of Emerson and Colby’s spikes appeared to be easy points, however digs from both star liberos Davis for Emerson, and Julia Hutchings for Colby, allowed them to take broken plays and apply pressure to the opposing team. 

Emerson seemed to have Colby’s number leading the entirety of the set. The Mules attempted to close the gap multiple times in the first set, but the Lions were able to seize back the momentum every time they got close. 

The score was 18-17 when a bad serve from the Mules gave the Lions a little breathing room. Junior middle blocker Jillian Kay then made a block that would start a four-point rally extending their lead to 23-17. 

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The Lions would go on to give up three straight points to the Mules before closing the set 25-20 on two consecutive kills from Kay assisted by junior setter Rebecca Polsky. 

Set one was a preview of what the rest of the match had in store: a battle of forced errors, strong kill shots, and big momentum swings. 

In the absence of head coach Ben Read, due to a cousin’s wedding, assistant coach Jake Girard stepped into the head coaching position. He stressed his team to adjust, which was made clear by the difference in score between each set.

“We have some really good players that can make adjustments on the fly,” Girard said in an interview after the game. “We really kind of slowed them down.” 

Emerson started out set two with another 5-1 lead. Colby battled back to make the score 7-6 as the Lions struggled to gain any separation. One three-point run would then be followed by a loss of three points caused by the hustle of the Mules.

After every hard shot Emerson pounded over the net, Colby worked their tail off to get some semblance of a return but weren’t able to generate enough pressure of their own.

Emerson ended up winning 25-18 after stellar play from both the back row and the hitters/blockers. 

The game still felt competitive despite Emerson taking back-to-back sets, as there was some back and forth play from both teams. Set three, however, was a complete deviation. 

The Lions put together a strong finish to the second set, winning by seven. That hot streak continued into the third set as the Lions dominated both sides of the ball winning 25 to 15, and Colby would scarcely get a point edgewise. Emerson didn’t miss a serve and only had three errors. 

Emerson didn’t drop a set in front of their home crowd on family weekend, marking the first time non-Emerson spectators and faculty entered the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym since the start of the pandemic. The larger crowd paid dividends for the Lions, as they built a true home court advantage. 

Kay said that it was special to have her family in the stands. 

“They haven’t seen me play in about two to three years,” Kay said in a post game interview. “It was so great to have everybody here.” 

Both Kay and first-year Parker Cummings had kill percentages over 50 percent. Kay said the play of her fellow hitters stood out in their win over Colby. 

“The pins did a great job of setting up the block and I was just able to get over there and close,” Kay said.

First-year pin hitter Amelia Combs started the season on the bench but found herself in the starting lineup after showcasing enough of her skillset to earn a role as a regular starter. She had a combined 22 kills between both games and even showed her talent in the back row. 

Against Colby, she recorded eight kills and five digs and praised her team’s defensive effort. 

“They did great at adjusting and adapting,” she said. “Our defenders made a lot of amazing plays.” 

Passing was key for the Lions and the team had a total of 38 digs, and kept the number of errors to a minimum recording only nine. 

Emerson’s next match up is a home double header against Bowdoin College and Manhattanville College on Saturday where they will look to build their current winning record.