Lyons Go Undefeated in Wheaton College Invitational

Photo by Nina Kenny
Photo by Nina Kenny

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College volleyball team continued its unbeaten streak in the Wheaton College Invitational with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-11) win over Salem State Saturday afternoon, followed by a hard fought 3-2 (14-25, 26-28, 27-25, 25-23, 15-8) win against SUNY Plattsburgh. 

The win moves Wheaton to 6-3 on the season and a perfect 5-0 in the invitational. Cathryn MacGregor was named to the all-tournament team, while first-year Becca Houghton was named tournament MVP. 

Junior Claire Cansler powered the offense with eight kills, with Cansler ending the match with a .400 attacking percentage. Cansler was also a force at the net, finishing with three block assists. 

Stephanie Martin had a strong match from the serve, finishing with a match-high six aces, while MacGregor and first-year Sadie Stewart each finished with four. MacGregor led the defense with 14 digs to Martin's 12.  

Wheaton shot out to a 9-4 lead in the first set to take control of an early advantage. The Vikings looked to cut off the run with a service error, 9-5, but the Lyons regrouped with an 11-6 stretch to make it 22-11. Salem State once again looked to slow Wheaton's momentum with a 4-0 run, but it was not enough with the Lyons walking away with the 25-16 win. 

Salem State turned the tables in the start of the second set, turning in an 11-5 lead that was quickly countered by a 13-7 run by the Lyons, making it an 18-18 game. Wheaton captured the lead on back-to-back kills by Emily Bouthillette, an ace by Houghton and an unforced error by the Vikings. The Vikings once again tried a late set comeback only to have it shutdown by the Lyons. 

The Lyons never let the Vikings in the third set, surging to an impressive 11-2 advantage. Wheaton's offense continued to minimize its errors in the final set, capturing a 19-6 lead on a handful of aces and Salem State errors. Cansler ended the match for Wheaton with a hard placed kill. 

Wheaton found itself trailing early in the match, falling behind by two sets with SUNY Plattsburgh taking the opening frame 25-14, before fighting for a 28-26 victory in the second set.

Wheaton was able to respond with a 27-25 third-set victory, before once again fighting for every point in the fourth set. Wheaton jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead in the third set, only to have it erased by solid hitting from the Cardinals. With the set tied at 25 all, the Lyons received crucial kills from Cameron Mercer and MacGregor to end the frame.

The fourth set started completely opposite of the third with Plattsburgh rushing to a 7-2 advantage. Errors by the Cardinals and kills from Mercer, Nikita Selivan, Houghton and Cansler brought the set even at 19-19. The two sides traded points down the stretch with the Lyons having just enough to close it out with kills by Selivan and MacGregor. 

Plattsburgh responded with an offensive assault in the fifth set, taking a quick 4-0 lead. Wheaton responded with a 9-0 run on a string of Martin serves. The Cardinals earned a few points back down the stretch, but the Lyons were able to take advantage of Plattsburgh errors and a strong attacking presence.   

Cansler led the lead with 13 kills and four blocks, while MacGregor was right behind with 12 kills. Mercer also finished with four blocks, while MacGregor and Selivan each had three. Martin finished the match with a team-high 30 digs, MacGregor picked up 26 and McKenna Milholland finished with 22. 

All-Tournament Team:
Mary Shelow (Emmanuel)
Sydney Adams (Maine Maritime)
Morgan Adams (Salem State)
Sam Colombo (SUNY Plattsburgh)
Cathryn MacGregor (Wheaton)
Becca Houghton (Wheaton - MVP) 

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