Williams Advances to NCAA Volleyball Regional Final with 3-0 Win Over Springfield

Courtesy Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Williams College Ephs, the #4 seed in the New England Regional, upset the #1 seed Springfield College Pride, 3-0 (27-25, 25-15, 25-15), to advance to the Regional Finals of the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday evening at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University.

The first set was the closest of the match as neither team built a lead larger than four points, but there were only two lead changes in the set. Williams held the advantage early, going ahead 10-6. Springfield came back to even the score up at 11 apiece, which was one of nine ties in the set, and then the Pride vaulted ahead to a four-point bulge at 16-12.

The Ephs battled back to tie the score at 20-20, and then Springfield looked as if it would take the set as they reeled off four points in a row for a 24-20 lead. Unfortunately for the Pride, they could not capitalize on five set points. After evening the set at 25 apiece, the Ephs tallied two straight for the first set victory, 27-25.

From there, the momentum clearly shifted to the Ephs. Springfield did manage to take the early lead in the second set, but not for long, as after a 4-4 tie Williams took the lead and never relinquished it.

Williams used an eight-point run in the middle of the set to go up 21-12 and they held an 11-point advantage at 24-13. The Ephs eventually coasted to the 25-15 set victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.

The third set saw more of the same as Springfield's only advantages were at 2-1 and 3-2. Williams seized control of the set and the match with a 10-2 run to assume a 20-8 lead. The Ephs did not let up and they earned the sweep, 3-0, with another 25-15 set victory.

Sophomore Kate Anderson (Berlin, Mass.) was the catalyst for the Ephs, with a match-high 17 kills. The digs leader for Williams was sophomore Emily Avis (Palo Alto, Calif.) with 12, while junior Andrea Scioscia (Gibsonia, Pa.) added 10 digs as well as one service ace. Sophomore Nicole Ballon-Landa (La Jolla, Calif.) recorded 11 kills for the Ephs to go along with two service aces.

Springfield was led by the nine kills and 13 digs of senior Aylene Ilkson (Baldwin, N.Y.), which were both team-highs. Sophomore Heather Lively (Royalston, Mass.) also had nine kills, while senior Heidi Yohe (Deer Park, Wash.) chipped in with 12 digs.

Williams College will battle for a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship when they take on Wellesley in the New England Regional Finals. The match will begin at 7 pm on Saturday evening at Cousens Gymnasium.

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