POULTNEY, Vt. – The Castleton University volleyball team split its two matches Saturday at Green Mountain College, defeating the host Eagles, 3-0 (25-10, 25-3, 25-14), before losing to Lyndon State College, 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22).
In the Spartans' first match of the day, they jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the opening set, but Green Mountain used consecutive service aces by Torie Cowell to put together a 7-0 scoring run that brought the Eagles to within one at 9-8. Castleton responded by scoring 16 of the final 18 points of the first set, including the last 11 points in a row, capped by a service ace by Cassidy Tedeschi.
The Spartans scored the first 19 points of the second set, led by four kills by Tedeschi as well as two kills and three service aces from J'Leen Diaz, as they cruised to the victory in the middle set. Castleton opened a 10-1 lead in the third set and held onto that advantage the rest of the way to complete the sweep.
Diaz led the Spartans with nine kills, a .474 hitting percentage, and four service aces, with Tedeschi contributing eight kills, five digs, and two aces. Alex Madsen finished with 23 assists, and Lauren Wilson led the defense with 11 digs, plus she collected three service aces.
After Lyndon State opened the second match of the day with a 5-2 first set lead, Castleton went on a 9-2 run to pull ahead, 11-7. Lyndon State would respond with a 7-1 run of its own and then, after the Spartans tied the set at 16-16, finished off the first set with a 9-2 run of its own.
A kill by Kelleigh Murtagh allowed the Hornets to take an early 7-3 lead in the second set, but two kills by Diaz and two service aces from Wilson helped the Spartans pull into an 11-11 tie. After a kill by Olivia Perkins put Castleton on top, 19-17, Lyndon State won eight of the final 11 points of the set to take a 2-0 match lead.
Castleton would take the early lead in the third set and extend it to 17-9, led by Kimberly Jackson with three kills over a four-point span. Diaz would earn a kill to close out the third set and extend the match. However, Lyndon State used a 10-1 run midway through the fourth set on its way to the match victory.
Diaz and Kimberly Jackson both notched double-doubles, with Diaz collecting 10 kills and 19 digs while Jackson finished with 10 kills and 13 digs, plus she led the Spartans with four service aces. Madsen accumulated 33 assists, 11 digs, and three service aces for her own double-double, Wilson and Maria Jackson added 14 digs apiece, and Tedeschi contributed 13 digs along with seven kills.
Castleton (3-4) will have a week to prepare for another Saturday doubleheader, traveling to First Baptist Gym in Longmeadow, Mass., to face host school Bay Path University at 10 a.m., followed by a neutral-site contest against Johnson State College at 12 noon.