POULTNEY, Vt. – Castleton University fought through a tough match against Johnson State College, winning the important points in each set for a 3-0 victory (25-21, 25-20, 25-20) over the Badgers before seeing a rally from a 2-0 deficit to Lyndon State College fall short in a 3-2 loss (25-18, 25-13, 22-25, 20-25, 15-12) to the Hornets Saturday in North Atlantic Conference volleyball action at the Eagle Dome.
Olivia Perkins continued her solid play against Johnson State, leading the Spartans with eight kills and a .333 hitting percentage. J'Leen Diaz finished with seven kills and a team-high 15 digs, while Alex Madsen earned 23 assists and Cassidy Tedeschi collected six kills, six digs, and a match-high six service aces.
In the opening set against the Badgers, back-to-back aces by Tedeschi gave the Spartans an 8-5 lead, but Johnson State fought back, going ahead 13-12 on a service ace by Grace Weingartner. Castleton would take the lead in the set for good on two straight Badger errors, with a service error by Johnson State clinching the first set for the Spartans.
The second set was just as close, as two kills by Breanna Laughlin and one kill from Kimberly Reville put the Badgers on top, 19-16. Castleton would close out the second set with a 9-1 scoring run, with Tedeschi earning two kills and the set-clinching kill.
Johnson State (3-20, 1-6 NAC) was down 10-7 in the third set before scoring six unanswered points, led by two service aces by Reville. With the set tied at 15-15, Castleton put together a 10-5 scoring run to complete the sweep, capped by consecutive service aces by Madsen.
Tedeschi led the Spartans against Lyndon State with 16 kills, three solo blocks, and 21 digs, while Diaz finished with 13 kills and 16 defensive digs. Madsen also notched a double-double with 34 assists and 10 digs as six of the seven active players for Castleton collected at least 10 digs in the match.
After a kill by Tedeschi early in the first set gave Castleton a 5-3 lead, Lyndon State went on a 16-4 scoring run, led by three kills from Kelleigh Murtagh and three straight service aces by Lauren McDonough. A kill by McDonough brought about set point, and a Spartan attack error clinched the first set for the Hornets.
Lyndon State (9-9, 3-3 NAC) jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set, starting with consecutive service aces by Gwyneth Stahl. After a service ace by Tedeschi closed the Castleton deficit to one, the Hornets scored 11 unanswered points, with Stahl earning two more service aces and Abbey Greene picking up two kills. Kills by Greene and McDonough would clinch the second set and give Lyndon State a 2-0 match lead.
The first part of the third set was close until Castleton scored six straight points, led by Tedeschi with two kills and Kimberly Jackson with a kill and two service aces. Down 21-14, Lyndon State scored seven of the next eight points, led by McDonough with two kills and a solo block, but Kimberly Jackson earned a kill to give Castleton the third set and extend the match.
The Hornets scored five straight points early in the fourth set, and then went on another 5-0 run later in the set, eventually establishing an 18-11 advantage on a service ace by Greene. Castleton closed out the fourth set with a 14-2 scoring run, led by Diaz with four kills and Tedeschi with two kills and a block.
In the fifth set, three straight kills by Murtagh helped Lyndon State establish a 9-3 advantage, but Castleton fought back, scoring six unanswered points to pull into a 9-9 tie. After the two teams exchanged the next two points, Lyndon State took the lead for good on a block by McDonough, and her kill allowed the Hornets to pick up the victory.
Castleton University (9-11, 3-4 NAC) will host Norwich University Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym in the Senior Night and Dig Pink match. The Spartans will officially find out their seeding for the NAC Volleyball Tournament later this weekend, with competition in the tournament starting next Saturday, Oct. 29.