Middlebury volleyball falls in tournament
HOBOKEN, N.J. — The Middlebury College volleyball team won one NCAA Division III tournament match before falling on Saturday, 3-0, to second-ranked host Trinity University (Texas) in the second round. The 21-6 Panthers defeated Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-1, on Friday.
The 21 wins are the program’s most wins since 2012 and included a program-record 14-match win streak to open the season. The Panthers were making their first trip back to the NCAA tournament since 2016.
Middlebury jumped out to a 12-9 edge in Saturday’s opening set, capped on a kill by Corley Doyle, but the Tigers tallied eight unanswered points fueled by four service aces from Nadia Kern to take a 17-12 advantage. The Panthers responded with a 7-1 run, taking a 21-19 edge highlighted by a pair of kills from Lucy Ambach, but could not hold the late lead despite a kill from Laney Sullivan, and fell, 25-23.
The next two sets were not as close, as Trinity claimed 25-17 and 25-18 wins, even though an Avery Tuggle kill helped the Panthers take a 5-1 lead in the third set.
Laney recorded a team-high eight kills, and Maggie Wise tallied seven. Gabbie O’Toole dished out a match-high 34 assists, while Kelly Ferrero dug up 15 balls.
Against host school Stevens (26-6) the Panthers prevailed 25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21.
Wise led all players with 18 kills and dug up a team-leading 18 balls. O’Toole had a match-high 36 assists, while Ferrero had 15 digs. Ambach led all players with seven blocks, while Doyle had six.
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As the truism goes, strong defense and rebounding typically wins basketball games.