NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College women's volleyball team continued its recent success in home openers on Wednesday night, as the Lyons knocked off Mount Ida College, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 26-24) in Emerson Gymnasium during each team's first match of the 2009 season. Wheaton has won five of its last six home openers.
Lyon sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) notched a double-double, finishing with 10 kills and 17 assists, while senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) paced the Blue and White attack with 12 kills. Sophomore Lauren McGrath (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) had six kills and four blocks, while freshman Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) added seven kills in her college debut.
Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) turned in a solid performance with eight service aces, 30 assists and eight digs. Junior libero Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) led the Wheaton defense with 20 digs, and sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) contributed 17.
For Mount Ida, freshmen Michelle Begley (West Barnstable, MA/Barnstable) and Devyn Frank (Mystic, CT/Fitch) accounted for eight and seven kills, respectively. Junior setter Kira Feeter (Keene, NH/Keene) totaled 21 assists, while classmate Chelsea Darnell (Dublin, OH/Dublin Scioto) accounted for 20 digs.
The first set featured six ties in the early going, including a 10-10 knot, before Wheaton rattled off four straight points and maintained at least a two-point edge the rest of the way. The ensuing set saw eight ties, with the last coming at 16-all, but the Lyons again pulled away to capture a 2-0 lead. With the Blue and White leading 23-20, Kraus and Howitt smacked back-to-back kills to seal the win.
Wheaton jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the third set before the Mustangs used a set-changing 18-6 run to gain control. The hosts scored the next three points to get within 18-13 but came no closer, as Mount Ida tacked on the final two points to force a fourth set.
The visitors controlled play for the majority of the final set, holding leads of 20-14 and 23-20, before Wheaton answered with six of the last seven points. The Blue and White surrendered the lone point of that run after tying things up at 23-all but responded with three straight points to grab the win.
The Lyons hit the road this Saturday for the Gordon College Invitational in Wenham, where they will play three matches, beginning with 2008 NCAA Tournament participant Endicott College at 11:00 a.m. Later in the day, they will face another of last year's NCAA Tournament qualifiers, Keene State College.