NORTON, MA- Wheaton College hung tough with regional power Wellesley College before suffering a 3-0 (20-25, 23-25, 17-25) loss in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball action on Tuesday in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Lyons fall to 15-12 on the season and 2-5 in league action, while the Blue, which came into tonight's match ranked 11th by the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA), is 16-7 and 5-1.
Sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) accounted for 14 kills and seven digs to lead the hosts, senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) added nine kills, and junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) tallied 34 assists and seven digs. Sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) and junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) finished with 14 and 13 digs, respectively.
Senior Alice Kate Cummings (Tallahassee, FL/Lawton Chiles) paced the visitors with 16 kills, while freshman Elizabeth Campbell (Solana Beach, CA/Torrey Pines) contributed seven kills and a team-best 14 digs. Classmate Isabel Custodio (Powell, OH/Bishop Watterson) handed out 18 assists, and junior Victoria Peng (Diamond Bar, CA/Diamond Bar) had 15. Senior Naomi Iwata (Seattle, WA/Seattle Prep) added 12 digs.
Set one saw Wheaton jump out to a 5-1 advantage behind strong service from junior Kaitlyn Stokes (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury Memorial) before Wellesley went on an 8-2 run. Tied at 12, the visitors used a 9-2 run to pull away.
The Lyons opened the second set with 5-2 and 8-5 advantages, but the Blue made the score 10-all in what proved to be the first of eight straight ties. With Wellesley clinging to a 24-22 lead, Wheaton freshman Olanna Nissim's (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) kill brought the hosts to within one before Blue first-year Taylor King (Walnut Creek, CA/Northgate) picked up the set-winner.
Wellesley scored nine of the final set's first 10 points. The Lyons got to within five at 15-10, but the Blue eventually pulled away in extending its advantage to 22-12. Four straight points narrowed Wheaton's gap to six at 22-16 before the visitors finished the set on a 3-1 spurt.
Wheaton travels to Mount Holyoke College this weekend to compete at the Hall of Fame Tournament, where the Lyons will face local foe Bridgewater State College on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Wheaton, which defeated the Bears in five in mid-September, is the third seed in the silver bracket, while Bridgewater State is seeded sixth.