CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University volleyball team played two competitive matches Saturday at Glenbrook Gymnasium, defeating Green Mountain College, 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-17, 25-23) before losing to Becker College, 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 16-25, 25-16, 15-12).
Against Green Mountain, Kimberly Jackson and Shannon Manchester led the Spartans with eight kills apiece, while Maria Jackson notched a double-double with 31 assists and 15 digs. Manchester collected 13 kills against Becker, Maria Jackson earned another double-double with 25 assists and 27 digs, Kimberly Jackson finished with 26 digs, and Greta Hoehn contributed nine kills, three service aces, and 21 digs.
Castleton scored the first three points of its match against Green Mountain, but the Eagles battled back, pulling into a tie three times early in the first set. Down 14-10, Green Mountain put together an 8-2 scoring run to pull ahead, 18-16, and then used two kills by Estela Felix Almeida and two service aces by Madison Wheeler to establish a 22-18 advantage. After the Spartans tied the set at 23-23, Green Mountain used a Castleton attack error and a kill by Almeida to win the first set.
The Spartans took control of the second set by taking a 10-2 lead, and then they closed out the set by outscoring the Eagles 11-6, capped by a block from Kimberly Jackson. A 9-2 Castleton scoring run early in the third set helped the Spartans take a 13-6 lead, and they would maintain that advantage throughout the rest of the set, with a service ace by Hoehn clinching the third set.
Green Mountain (1-5) scored four of the first five points of the fourth set, but five unanswered points by Castleton put the Spartans ahead, 9-7. The Eagles rallied with a 7-2 scoring run of their own to retake the lead, 19-15, but Castleton answered with four straight points to pull into a 19-19 tie. After going back-and-forth for the next eight points, the Spartans closed out the set and the match on a kill by Maria Jackson and a service ace from Lauren Wilson.
Besides Maria Jackson, Wilson and Meghan Zawatsky also finished with 15 digs each against Green Mountain, and Hoehn contributed six kills, six service aces, and nine digs. Almeida led the Eagles with 14 kills, plus she earned 14 digs, while Wheeler led the Green Mountain defense with 19 digs.
Becker (6-7) scored five of the first six points of the match, but Castleton roared right back with a 12-2 scoring run to pull ahead, 13-7. Kills by Kayla Dupree and Sofia Cullina later in the set put the Hawks back on top, 20-19, but the Spartans would eventually score the final three points of the opening set, capped by a kill from Jess Grace and a service ace from Wilson.
The Hawks went on a 7-2 scoring run early in the second set to open a 10-5 lead, and then they closed out the set with a 7-1 stretch, capped by a kill from Gillian Criddle. The Spartans rebounded quickly, scoring the first six points of the third set and then, after a block by Criddle closed the Becker deficit to 12-10, scored nine unanswered points to extend their lead into double digits. A Becker service error clinched the third set for the Spartans, giving the home team a 2-1 match lead.
After a block by Manchester to open the fourth set, Becker scored 12 of the next 13 points, but Castleton cut the Hawk lead in half thanks to a 7-2 scoring run. The Hawks would not allow the Spartans to come any closer, going on a 6-2 scoring run to win the fourth set and force the deciding fifth set.
Becker opened a 5-1 lead in the fifth set, but two kills by Grace and one by Maria Jackson pulled the Spartans to within one. A 7-2 Hawk run, punctuated by a kill from Dupree, gave the visitors a 12-6 advantage, but Castleton did not give up, putting together its own 6-2 scoring run to close to within two at 14-12. However, Becker forced the Spartans into an attack error to close out the match.
Both teams leaned on their defense throughout the match, as each squad finished with over 100 defensive digs. Dupree led the Hawks with 12 kills, while Becker setter Charlene Landry collected 37 assists, 11 digs, six kills, and six service aces. Three Becker players finished with over 20 digs, led by libero Olivia McGuinness with 28 digs and Cullina with 26 digs.
Becker swept Green Mountain in the middle match of the day, 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-10), as Criddle and Morgan Gould led the Hawk offense with seven kills apiece. Landry finished with 24 assists, eight digs, and seven service aces, and Kate Briggs contributed 10 digs and four service aces. Almeida led Green Mountain with six kills, five service aces, and 12 digs.
Castleton (3-8) opens North Atlantic Conference play next Saturday, Sept. 30, traveling to Henniker, N.H., to face Colby-Sawyer at 12 noon and New England College at 4 p.m.