NORTON, MA- Five-set matches are beginning to become the norm for the Wheaton College women's volleyball team, as the Lyons notched a pair of 3-2 victories during Saturday's tri-match with Roger Williams University and Trinity College at Emerson Gymnasium. Having now played in five consecutive five-setters, the Lyons edged Roger Williams, 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 19-25, 15-13) before knocking off regionally-ranked Trinity, 3-2 (25-22, 25-15, 20-25, 8-25, 21-19).
The middle match also went five sets, with Trinity posting a slim 3-2 (16-25, 25-18, 25-18, 19-25, 15-11) victory. The Bantams are ranked 13th by the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA). The Lyons reached .500 at 8-8, Trinity moved to 6-3, while Roger Williams slipped to 7-8.
Versus Roger Williams, senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) and sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) paced the offense with 17 and 16 kills, respectively, with Howitt adding 13 digs. Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) handed out 50 assists with nine digs, sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) had 23 digs, while junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) and freshman Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) accounted for 17 digs each, with Nissim adding seven kills and four service aces.
During the opening set, 12-12 proved to be the 12th tie before the Hawks eventually led by three points. However, Wheaton used a 6-0 run to take a 22-18 lead, with Kraus later dropping a kill to clinch the win. Nissim's two aces keyed a 5-0 spurt during the second set that helped the Lyons pull in front by a 12-11 count, and Kraus provided three kills during a 5-0 run that allowed Wheaton to rally for a 23-21 lead. After Roger Williams knotted the set, a service error gave the hosts the lead, and a Howitt kill made it 2-0. In the final set, 10 ties left the contest knotted at 13 before consecutive kills from junior Kaitlyn Stokes (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury Memorial) and Howitt sealed the win.
Against Trinity, Kraus and Howitt posted 14 and 11 kills, respectively, with Howitt rounding out her double-double with 11 digs, while Rose also contributed a double-double of 35 assists and 15 digs. Nissim had 15 digs and seven kills, Davisson and Hunt added 15 and 13 digs, respectively, and Kraus turned in five service aces.
Wheaton led by as much as 10 in the opening set, including at 22-12. After a 9-0 Trinity run, the Lyons scored three of the final four points, with Stokes burying a kill at set point, and the hosts broke a 13-all tie with a 12-2 run in the next set. The teams stood tied at 18 in the third, but the Bantams pulled away with a 7-2 run. Trinity tallied the first five points of the fourth set and didn't look back. In the fifth set, Wheaton opened its lead to 13-8 before a 5-0 push gave the Bantams a 15-14 edge in what proved to be the first of four lead swings with the match on the line. With Trinity serving for the match and her team down 19-18, Nissim had a tying kill before Kraus tallied the last two points on a block and a kill.
Wheaton resumes its four-match homestand on Tuesday with a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest against Smith College at 7:00 p.m.