Women’s Volleyball Storms Back to Stun Ithaca
September 27, 2012
The Keuka College women’s volleyball team dropped the first two sets of Thursday night’s non-conference clash with rival Ithaca College, but the Storm roared back to defeat the Bombers in a thrilling five-set match inside the Weed Physical Arts Center.
Junior Paige Golden (Kent, NY/Albion), the reigning North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Athlete of the Week, posted her ninth double-double, recording 22 kills and 28 digs, while sophomore Dani Alred (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) added five blocks over the last three sets to fuel the Keuka comeback.
Keuka (11-3 overall) prevailed 15-25, 18-25, 27-25, 25-22 and 15-7 to pick up a huge win over the rival Bombers (6-6) in the first matchup between the schools since 2009, when Ithaca handed Keuka a three-set setback.
Junior Jill Nolan (Johnson City, NY/Maine-Endwell) added 33 assists and eight digs, classmate Taylor Smith (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) had 19 digs and junior Deliane Lessard (Rochester, NY/Genesee Community College) contributed eight kills and two blocks in the win.
“I’m so proud of us, I wasn’t afraid to set up anyone out there,” said Nolan, who serves as Keuka’s co-captain along with Golden.
“I had confidence in all of my hitters today. Devan Curtis had a great game and all of our hitters were calling for the ball and ready to hit at all times. I was confident that I had three hitters to go to all the time. To beat Ithaca feels really darn awesome! They’re a great team, it was a really competitive match and they showed a lot of skill on their side as well. I was proud of us to be able to come through and win and beat a spectacular team like that. We kind of feel invincible after a win like that.”
After dropping the first two sets, the momentum swung towards the Green and Gold in the third. Keuka took a 3-0 lead on an ace from Nolan, before the Bombers went on an 8-4 run to seize an 8-7 lead. Neither team led by more than two points the rest of the set, but the Storm made a run and took a 23-21 lead on a service point from Golden.
Tied at 25, sophomore Devan Curtis (San Clemente, CA/San Clemente) recorded back-to-back kills to win the set and keep Keuka alive.
In the fourth set, the Storm again jumped out to an early lead and held a 10-6 edge on a kill from Alred. Keuka’s lead swelled to 20-15 and the Green and Gold traded points en route to the 25-22 win to force the decisive fifth set.
Golden posted back-to-back kills as Keuka took a 5-1 lead early in the fifth. A kill from freshman Morgan Eberley (Utica, NY/Whitesboro) gave the Storm an 8-5 lead, and a kill from Alred pushed the advantage to 9-5.
Leading 12-6, Curtis and Golden had back-to-back kills, bringing up match point. Ahead 14-7, Lessard’s final kill clinched the dramatic win for the Storm.
“My whole team had my back, I had my teammates’ back, everyone had each other’s backs and our coaches had our backs out there tonight,” Golden said after posting a season-high in digs and the second-most kills she’s had in a match this year.
“It really just helps you to leave everything out on the court and play like you want to win every single game. There definitely was a lot of pressure those first two sets, but then after that we all just relaxed and realized there’s nothing to lose, so we served like we wanted to win every point out there.”
Curtis finished with 10 digs, 10 kills and 1.5 blocks and Eberley added seven digs and eight kills with no errors on 21 attempts for an impressive .381 hitting percentage.
A deep Storm squad recorded 58 kills as nine different student-athletes managed kills vs. Ithaca.
Junior Rachel Parker (Chaumont, NY/Thousand Islands) added 13 assists and five digs for Keuka, which has won six straight matches.
Marissa Weil had 22 kills and 17 digs, Justine Duryea added 31 digs and 10 kills and Christine Flannery added 12 digs and nine kills for the Bombers.
The Green and Gold returns to action with a 7 p.m. home match against Alfred University Monday night inside the Weed Physical Arts Center.
Both Nolan and Golden said that a huge win like the one over Ithaca can propel the Storm to bigger and better things.
“We just discussed this as a team afterwards, with a win like this, if we play like this that’s a (North Eastern Athletic Conference) championship right there,” Nolan said with a smile.
“It’s just a huge win, I don’t even know how to explain it, it’s crazy,” Golden said. “We just went out there, we lost the first two sets, but all of us thought, ‘well, we can just play hard and win these next three sets’ and we did. It was just awesome!”