Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics
MEDFORD, Mass. – For the first time since 2008, Wesleyan has advanced to the semifinals of the NESCAC Championship as the Cardinals swept Little Three rival Williams in the quarterfinals at Tufts by scores of 25-11, 25-14, 25-17. Wesleyan was impressive in victory, hitting .400 as a team as Harper Graves led the way with 15 kills and zero errors on 25 attempts for an incredible .600 attack clip. Additionally, Nicole Hilton registered 14 kills with just two errors for a .545 mark and Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 37 assists.
Wesleyan (19-5) await the winner of the No. 3 Bowdoin/No. 6 Middlebury match and will play in the semifinals on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Williams closes out its season with an 11-2 record.
- It was all Wesleyan in the first set as the Cardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Ahead by four (10-6), they went on a 9-1 run to pull away and a kill by Graves sealed the 25-11 win.
- The momentum carried over into the second game as Wesleyan went ahead 6-1 early. Williams got within three (9-6), but a 5-0 run by the Cardinals gave them a commanding 14-6 advantage. Wesleyan later scored six unanswered to go ahead 23-12 and a kill from Graves followed by one from Sarah Swenson shortly after gave the Cardinals a 25-14 victory.
- It was a different story in the third set. Erin Denham gave the Ephs their first lead of the match with a kill on the first point. The game would go back-and-forth with 10 ties until an 8-1 run by Wesleyan gave the Cardinals a 21-14 lead. Hilton would later seal the set and the match with a kill off an assist from Muraoka-Robertson.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- In addition to Graves and Hilton, Swenson was also terrific offensively as the senior tallied seven kills without an error for a .412 hitting percentage and Gabby Bennett '20 finished with five kills on just 10 attempts for a .400 attack clip.
- Defensively, Phia Bellizzi led the team with 10 digs and Madeleine Lundberg recorded a match-high four blocks.
- Williams hit just .150 as a team and was led by Denham, who finished with nine kills and Tess Richman with seven. Alex Newton dished out 28 assists and Daiana Takashima registered 13 digs.