NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Freshman Courtney Nau (Sunrise, Fla.) pounded home a team-leading 19 kills across two matches on Saturday, but the Norwich University women's volleyball team dropped contests against MCLA and Lyndon State College. Norwich exited the tri-match with a 1-6 overall record.
MCLA dispatched the Cadets in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-17) before Lyndon State defeated the hosts in a five-set thriller (23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 16-14). Both teams pick up only their second-ever wins over Norwich – the Cadets still lead the all-time series against MCLA (8-2) and Lyndon State (11-2).
Nau posted eight kills against only two errors versus MCLA, hitting a team-best .261 on the match. Sophomore Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) set up 10 of her team's 21 kills while freshman Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.) racked up 14 digs for the Cadets. Freshman Monika Schneider (Hollis, N.H.) joined classmate Ashley Nau (Sunrise, Fla.) with two service aces in the match.
MCLA opened up a dominant 11-2 lead in the opening set. Norwich would rally, however, but the Trailblazers would hold on for the 25-19 victory. The guests would strike early once again in the second set, never relinquishing its early 6-1 lead in the second set. Norwich would lead 9-6 in the third set, but a seven-point run by MCLA would remove any chance of a Cadets comeback.
The Trailblazers were led by 10 kills from Sam Anderson, who committed only one attacking miscue on 18 swings. Beatrice Lechler dished out 12 assists while Chanielle Enomoto and Tessa Sestito accounted for eight digs apiece. Bri O'Rourke hammered home five service aces for MCLA.
Norwich began the second match well, coming back from a 7-2 deficit in the first set to capture a 25-23 set victory. With junior Katie Crane (Avon, N.Y.) serving down 15-12, she posted two service aces to help her team rattle off four-straight points to spark the comeback. Tied at 22, the Cadets utilized two Lyndon State service errors and an attacking miscue to collect the win.
The Hornets posted a second set win after opening up a 10-1 lead on Norwich, slowing the momentum for the hosts. Down by a 20-to-5 margin, however, Schneider would post back-to-back service aces while helping her team back into contention. A kill from Lyndon State's Abbey Greene, however, would help her team to the 25-16 lead at set point.
After a 25-23 set win for Norwich in the third set, the Cadets appeared well on their way to a 3-1 match victory after opening up a 9-3 lead in the fourth set. Norwich would keep the Hornets at arm's length down the stretch, growing its lead to 19-13, but Lyndon State did not give in to the offensive pressure by the Cadets.
A kill by Ashley Nau would produce match point for the Cadets at 24-22, but back-to-back kills from the Hornets would tie the score at 24. From there, back-to-back attacking errors by Norwich would force the team to play a fifth and final set to determine a victor.
Norwich would boast a 7-3 lead in the fifth set, but once again, Lyndon State rallied to make things interesting down the stretch. After allowing the Hornets to shrink their lead to 12-9, Norwich would yield the matches' next five points to put Lyndon State ahead by a 14-12 margin.
A service error by Lyndon State at match point preceded a clutch kill from Ashley Nau, keeping her team in the game by hammering home a Crane assist. Unfortunately, a Norwich attacking error was followed by a service ace by Gwyneth Stahl to cap off the come-from-behind victory for the Hornets.
Stahl would finish the match with an impressive double-double, posting 34 assists to go along with 24 digs. Four other members of the Lyndon State starting lineup would reach double-digit dig totals as the squad utilized only one sub despite playing in 10 sets across the afternoon's tri-match.
Norwich opens up Great Northeast Athletic Conference play with a 1 p.m. match next Saturday, Sept. 17 at Andrews Hall. For more information regarding Homecoming 2016, visit http://alumni.norwich.edu/homecoming.