Southern Vermont Sweeps Mitchell 3-0 for First NECC Victory

Southern Vermont Sweeps Mitchell 3-0 for First NECC Victory

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Southern Vermont College picked up its first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's volleyball win of the season Friday night with a 3-0 sweep over visiting Mitchell College at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

SVC won the opening game by a 25-19 margin before taking the second at a 25-17 clip. Southern Vermont then finished off the straight-set victory with a 25-18 win in the third.

Next up for the Mountaineers (2-16, 1-1 NECC) is a Wednesday non-conference match at SUNY Delhi with first serve slated for 7 p.m. Mitchell (0-12, 0-2 NECC) looks ahead to a Tuesday home contest in which the Mariners will host Albertus Magnus College for a 7 p.m. non-league tilt.

Southern Vermont junior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) led the night with a match-best 17 kills while adding nine aces, eight digs, and two blocks to her line; the Mountaineer only committed three attacking errors on 37 swings for a .378 hitting percentage for the evening. Freshman Nikki Ramirez (West Covina, Calif.) followed with 12 kills and seven digs while junior libero Heidy Benitez (Tulare, Calif.) popped up a contest-high 22 digs. Sophomore Abigail Landon (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) assisted on 33 of the team's 36 kills in the win.

Mitchell senior Myia Williams (Roselle, N.J.) tallied a team-best eight kills for the visitors as classmate Italia Krick (Griswold, Conn.) had another five to go along with her 17 digs and two service aces. Freshman libero Courtney Cappabianca (Torrington, Conn.) notched a side-high 18 digs while senior Lauren Tompkins (Prospect, Conn.) registered 17 assists and five digs in the effort.

The Mariners ran out to a 7-3 lead to start the night, but an MC attacking error then allowed Sowles to take the ball behind the line; she ripped off five-straight aces before a Ramirez kill forced a Mitchell timeout. MC would stay in it and tie the set at 11-11 with a Tompkins kill and an ace from Krick, but Ramirez then came up with three kills as SVC scored six unanswered points to go back on top by a comfortable margin. Williams and senior Megan Elphick (Waterford, Conn.) each landed a kill as Mitchell cut it to an 18-16 deficit, but Sowles would be too much for the visitors as she put down three of her own late in the frame before her sixth of the game put it away.

The first half of the second set was tightly contested with neither side leading by more than two until SVC won six-of-seven to go in front at 19-14; Sowles landed a kill in that stretch before knocking across back-to-back aces. After points were traded, Southern Vermont closed it out with a 5-1 run to put the Mariners' backs against the wall; Ramirez recorded two kills during that spurt and ended it with consecutive service aces.

Mishaps from both sides caused each team to use a timeout early in the third—Mitchell being the second to do so after four-straight SVC points tied it at 4-4. Krick and freshman Marissa Sweeney (Hudson, N.H.) put down back-to-back kills for the Mariners to take a slim edge, but Southern Vermont came back with a 7-2 run with kills by Sowles, Ramirez, and Bennington College freshman Kemly Derby (New York City, N.Y.). MC would win the next four in-a-row to pull back ahead, and points would then go back-and-forth before a Williams kill tied it at 16-16. That's when SVC surged for six unanswered points and a comfortable upper hand as Sowles put down another pair of kills. Sowles and Ramirez landed points late in the stanza, and Derby then completed the win with her sixth kill of the night.