CASTLETON, Vt. – Led by strong performances from several players, the Castleton University volleyball team overcame a slow start to defeat Green Mountain College, 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-10, 25-20), Wednesday night in a North Atlantic Conference matchup at Glenbrook Gym.
Inserted into the lineup at the start of the second set, Olivia Perkins played the best match of her young career, finishing with 12 kills and a .444 hitting percentage. J'Leen Diaz led all players with 15 kills, while Alex Madsen broke her own school single-season record by collecting 39 assists along with six service aces and nine digs. Kimberly Jackson also finished with six service aces, Maria Jackson also performed well with nine kills, three aces, and six digs, and Jess Grace led the Spartans with 12 defensive digs.
Castleton scored the first five points of the match, but Green Mountain put together a 16-3 scoring run to open an eight-point advantage. Diaz collected four kills during an 8-1 Spartan run that closed the Eagle lead to one at 18-17, and then a kill by Maria Jackson tied the opening set at 20-20. Green Mountain would take advantage of Castleton mistakes in pulling ahead late, and a kill by Taylor Hill helped the Eagles win the first set.
Back-to-back service aces by Lauren Wilson allowed the Spartans to open a 9-4 lead in the second set, and then Castleton would close out the second set with a 13-5 scoring run. Kimberly Jackson earned four service aces during that run, and a Green Mountain service error would clinch the second set for the Spartans, tying the match at one set apiece.
Castleton dominated the third set, hitting .600 in the set and putting together two five-point runs to open a significant lead. A service ace by Diaz brought about set point, and Kimberly Jackson capped the set with a kill to give the Spartans a 2-1 match lead.
Green Mountain (0-16, 0-5 NAC) scored three of the first four points of the fourth set, featuring consecutive kills by Hill. Castleton responded with a 12-3 scoring run, starting with two straight kills by Perkins. Down 22-11, the Eagles fought back, thanks to two service aces apiece by Madison Gillen and Taleana Trammell, closing to within four points before a service error ended the set and the match in Castleton's favor.
Castleton (8-10, 2-3 NAC) concludes the conference regular season schedule at Green Mountain Saturday, Oct. 22, facing Johnson State at 10 a.m. and Lyndon State at 12 noon in neutral-site matches. The Spartans return home for one more regular season contest next Wednesday, Oct. 26, against rival Norwich at 7 p.m. in the annual Dig Pink match as well as Senior Night.