LYNDON CENTER, Vt. – In a match that could have been extended to four or five sets or even had the opposite result, Lyndon State was able to win the important points in each set to defeat Castleton University, 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 28-26), Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2016 North Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament at Stannard Gymnasium.
Lyndon State (11-9) scored the first six points of the match, but Castleton quickly rallied back, going on a 9-3 scoring run, led by two service aces apiece by Kimberly Jackson and Cassidy Tedeschi, to tie the first set at 12-12. A service ace by Kelleigh Murtagh and a kill from Lauren McDonough allowed the Hornets to retake the lead at 15-12, but the Spartans put together a 6-1 scoring run, including kills by J'Leen Diaz and Jackson, to pull ahead, 18-16.
The home team scored the next five points, including a service ace by Gwyneth Stahl and a kill by Abbey Greene. After kills by Tedeschi and Olivia Perkins closed the Spartan deficit to two at 23-21, Castleton made two errors to give the Hornets the opening set.
The second set was more of a back-and-forth affair, with kills by Murtagh and Stahl giving the Hornets a 9-6 lead. Down 19-14 after a kill by Murtagh, Castleton raced ahead thanks to a 7-1 scoring run, led by Jackson with two kills, an assist, and a block assist.
Lyndon State answered back with three straight points, starting with kills by McDonough and Greene. Jackson would earn a kill and a service ace to tie the set at 24-24, but a kill by Greene and a Spartan attack error clinched the second set for the Hornets.
The third set went back to a series of runs, as Lyndon State pulled ahead by three points twice early on before Castleton rallied back, eventually tying the set at 9-9. Service aces by Tedeschi and Alex Madsen as well as a kill by Jackson put the Spartans on top, 13-10, but the Hornets scored four straight points, led by McDonough with a kill and two blocks.
Castleton fought back, scoring four unanswered points to retake the lead, with another ace from Madsen putting the Spartans on top 23-20. Two service aces by Stahl brought about match point for the Hornets, and then the teams exchanged service errors to give Lyndon State another chance at closing out the match.
Jackson earned a kill and a service ace to create set point for Castleton, but Greene extended the set with a kill. Faith Richard brought about Lyndon State's third match point opportunity with a service ace, and then an attack error by the Spartans closed out the set and the match for the Hornets.
Tedeschi led the Spartans with 12 kills, plus she finished with three aces and eight digs, while Jackson earned nine kills and six digs, plus she led the team with four aces and three total blocks. Madsen contributed 24 assists, three service aces, and eight digs, and Jess Grace led the backline with 10 defensive digs.
Greene led the Hornets with 11 kills and three total blocks, Stahl earned 19 assists, four kills on five attack attempts, three aces, and eight digs, and Murtagh led the defense with 13 digs along with two total blocks. Lyndon State moves on to face top seed Maine Maritime in the semifinals of the NAC Volleyball Tournament next Friday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. in Castine, Maine.
Castleton's 2016 season concludes with a 9-13 overall record, including a fifth-place finish in the NAC with a 3-4 league mark. The NAC postseason awards will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 2.