CHICOPEE, Mass. – After seeing its rally from a 2-0 deficit fall short in a five-set loss to Lesley University (25-11, 25-15, 24-26, 21-25, 15-12), the Castleton University volleyball team helped setter Alex Madsen become the all-time school record holder for assists as it defeated Elms College, 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) Saturday afternoon in non-conference action at Picknelly Arena.
After earning five assists against Lesley, Madsen collected 21 assists against Elms to bring her career total to 732 assists, passing the previous mark of 726 assists set by Shelby Smyth from 2012 to 2015. Last season, Madsen set the Castleton single season record with 317 assists, and she is on pace to establish a new standard for assists per set in a single season, currently averaging 5.22 assists per set.
In the first set against Elms, Castleton took a 9-3 lead, but three consecutive kills by Hannah Adams closed the Spartan lead to three at 11-8. A kill by Cassidy Tedeschi punctuated a 6-1 scoring run that extended the Castleton lead back to eight at 20-12, and J'Leen Diaz would earn a kill to close out the first set.
Elms (4-15) took a 9-4 lead in the second set thanks to an ace by Carolyn Campbell, but a 7-3 scoring run brought the Spartans to within one at 12-11. Elms extended its lead back to four at 16-12, but Castleton would close out the second set on a 13-5 scoring run, capped by a kill from Madsen.
The third set was close early, but Kimberly Jackson earned three service aces during an 8-0 Spartan scoring run that gave Castleton some breathing room. Back-to-back kills by Kate Moriarty closed the gap to one at 19-18, but another kill from Madsen started a 6-2 scoring run that ended the set and the match in Castleton's favor.
Tedeschi notched a double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs, while Diaz finished with seven kills and 13 digs. Jackson led the Spartans with five service aces and 16 digs, and libero Lauren Wilson added 13 digs to the winning effort.
In Castleton's first match of the day, Lesley dominated the first two sets and was ahead 16-11 in the third set, but the Spartans fought back, led by a block assist, a kill, and a service ace from Tedeschi that tied the set at 18-18. Lesley committed a service error and an attack error to give the Spartans the third set and extend the match.
Lesley (5-9) scored five of the first six points of the fourth set, but Castleton went on a 6-0 scoring run, led by Tedeschi with a solo block and two kills. The Spartans extended their lead to four later in the set on a service ace by Diaz, and Tedeschi picked up a kill to close out the fourth set and bring about a deciding fifth set.
Kills by Olivia Perkins and Diaz put Castleton on top in the fifth set, 9-6, but Lesley struck back, putting together a 6-2 scoring run that featured consecutive blocks by Kaylee Deluga. After a Lesley attack error tied the set at 12-12, Lesley scored the final three points of the match, including kills by Deluga and Sarah Hollis.
Tedeschi notched a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs, plus she collected four total blocks, while Kimberly Jackson contributed eight kills, two service aces, and 13 digs. Diaz led the Spartans with 23 defensive digs, followed by Jess Grace with 20 digs and Maria Jackson with 14 digs to go along with 23 assists.
Castleton (7-7) will make a midweek trip to SUNY Cobleskill Wednesday, Oct. 12, before finally returning to play a home match for the first time in over a month, hosting Colby-Sawyer and Maine Maritime in NAC matchups at Glenbrook Gym next Saturday, Oct. 15.