LEICESTER, Mass. – The Castleton University Volleyball team opened the 2018 season with losses to Anna Maria, 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23) and Becker, 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-12), Saturday at a tri-matched hosted by Becker.
Against Anna Maria, the match was separated by just a net-total of four points. The Spartans held a lead in the opening points of each of the sets against Becker, but were unable to slow down their offense, leading to a straight-set defeat.
The Spartans will return to action for their home opener on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against SUNY Cobleskill.
Anna Maria 3, Castleton 1
Each of the four sets was decided by just two points as Anna Maria escaped with a back-and-forth matchup from the start. Shannon Manchester led the Spartans in the match with 10 kills and a block. She also had four digs. Madison Hamelink collected six kills and 11 digs while sharing a match-high six service aces with two other players.
Castleton scored the first three points of the match before allowing a steak of four in a row, including a pair of service aces. The Spartans recovered and held a 23-22 lead before the Amcats scored three unanswered points and took the set on a service ace.
In the second set, the score was tied ten separate times before Anna Maria ultimately swept the final two points and clinched the set victory on a kill by Chloe Vella.
The biggest lead either side had in the third set was four. After the Amcats recovered from a two-point deficit to tie the set at 23, the Spartans took advantage of a service error and took the set thanks to a kill by Hamelink on their first set point.
Anna Maria raced to a 6-0 lead in the decisive fourth set and despite a comeback from the Spartans featuring a 10-2 run and a 17-16 Castleton lead, the Amcats used a streak of six consecutive points highlighted by a pair of kills and an assist by Hannah Mitchell.
Using an effort to continue the match, the Spartans rolled off six out of the next seven points leading to a 23-all deadlock. For the third time of the afternoon, Anna Maria scored each of the text two points to win the match.
Becker 3, Castleton 0
The Spartans mustered just 10 combined kills across the three-set match and were outscored by a combined clip of 75-40. Hamelink had six of the kills for the Spartans.
Meghan Zawatsky led Castleton defensively with 17 digs and had one of the Spartans' six aces.
The first set featured what was a one-point lead by Castleton into an 11-point advantage for the Hawks on the serve of Morgan Gould, who produced four service aces throughout the streak.
Castleton jumped out to an early lead in each of the next two sets, but those were the only leads they held the rest of the way. The Spartans did, however, outpace the Hawks 9-5 at the tail end of the second set before a Gillian Criddle kill, one of her match-high 19, clinched the set for Becker.