NORTON, MA- Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) landed on the all-tournament team while helping Wheaton College women's volleyball go 2-1 on Saturday during the four-school Wheaton Invitational in Emerson Gymnasium. The Lyons improved to 15-11 on the year. Wheaton fell to eventual tournament champion Emerson College, 3-2 (25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 22-25, 13-15) to open the day before knocking off Rhode Island College, 3-2 (25-20, 24-26, 25-20, 22-25, 15-12) and Gordon College, 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23).
Against Emerson, which sits atop the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) standings, the Lyons succumbed to a comeback by the visitors. Sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) tallied 12 kills, 14 digs and three aces, while senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) and junior Kaitlyn Stokes (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury Memorial) notched nine kills and three blocks apiece. Rose turned in 38 assists, 13 digs and four aces, while sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) and junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) had 26 and 19 digs, respectively. Freshman Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) added 11 digs and three aces.
A 6-0 run behind the service of Nissim gave the hosts a 7-2 advantage in the opener, as they eventually led by as many as 10 points. In the next set, Wheaton snapped a 3-3 tie with five straight points en route to grabbing the 2-0 match advantage. After trailing by five, the Lyons used a 7-1 run to take what proved to be their final edge of the third set, 17-16, and Emerson broke a late 18-18 knot in the fourth set. The visitors scored the first five points of the fifth set before the Lyons rallied for a tie at 13 apiece, but Emerson scored the final two points on kills.
Howitt led the way against Rhode Island College with 24 kills and 14 digs, while Kraus had 17 kills, 11 digs and three blocks. Freshman Rachel Vergara (Needham, MA/Needham) had seven kills and three blocks, Rose tallied 53 assists and 15 digs, while Davisson totaled 41 digs, the most by a Lyon since October 14, 2000. Hunt and Nissim contributed 15 and 12 digs, respectively, while sophomore Lauren McGrath (Shoreham, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) turned in five blocks.
Wheaton nabbed a 17-13 edge in the opening set, the first advantage for either team larger than three points, before leading by as many as seven. In the following set, Rhode Island College wiped out a 13-8 deficit with a 6-0 run, after which the teams played through nine ties before the visitors won. The Lyons expanded upon an 18-17 edge in the third set, but the Anchorwomen broke a late 20-all tie in the fourth set to knot the match. In the fifth set, Wheaton led by as much as 10-3, but RIC closed to within two twice before Kraus dropped a kill at match point.
Kraus totaled 13 kills and three aces versus Gordon, while Stokes had seven kills. Nissim added six kills, nine digs and three aces, while Rose contributed 35 assists and 11 digs. Davisson finished with 24 digs, while freshman Christina Cannon (Milford, NH/Milford) tallied nine.
After rushing out to a 6-1 lead and seeing Gordon pull within 15-11 in the opening set, the Lyons finished on a 10-4 run. Wheaton again claimed an early advantage in the second set, turning a 5-1 lead into a 14-5 cushion before holding on. The third set proved to be competitive until the end, when the teams posted five late ties before the Blue and White scored the final two points to win the match.
Wheaton is back in action on Tuesday, when it hosts Wellesley College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match at 7:00 p.m. The Blue is ranked 11th regionally by the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA).