CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's volleyball team pushed Northern Vermont University-Johnson to the brink in each set Tuesday evening, but the Spartans were on the losing end of a 3-0 result at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
The Badgers completed the three-set sweep taking the opening two sets by final scores of 26-24 before closing it out with a 25-21 third-set win. Castleton trailed by as many as 12 points in the opening set before storming back to tie it at 24-24 after a 15-3 run. The loss drops the Spartans to 3-4 overall while NVU-Johnson improves to 6-2 on the year.
Lizzie Goodrich had a team-leading five kills, while Madison Hamelink and Ellie Frischmon chipped in with three kills each. Hamelink and Meghan Zawatsky led the way with seven digs apiece, and Bre MacDuff compiled 11 assists and three aces on the evening.
Aleesia Smith, Nikola Knapova, Porsche Johnson and Lauren Havill each registered eight or more kills on the night, with Havill leading the way with nine kills. Mason Lores piled up 32 assists, and Johnson added six service aces for the Badgers. Smith added a pair of blocks on the night—one solo and one assisted.
Johnson served the Badgers a big lead in the opening set as the visitors ran out to a 10-0 advantage before the Spartans got on the board. The lead extended to 12 points at 18-6 and again at 20-8 before Castleton rattled off four of the next five points behind errors from NVU-Johnson. Following a service error by Lores, Zawatsky notched three consecutive aces before Goodrich added a kill to make it 22-17. Goodrich tallied another kill to make it 23-18 before Castleton drew within one, 23-22. With game point on the line, Smith committed a service error to keep Castleton alive, and Hamelink registered an ace to knot the score up at 24-24. The Badgers ended it soon after, as Johnson finished a set from Lores for a 25-24 lead before Brooke Scheier fired an ace to end the set, 26-24.
The second set was an early struggle for a lead, as the two sides dueled to a 10-10 score early. NVU-Johnson began to pull away after scoring five straight points, but Castleton kept it close and tied it up once more at 14-14. An attack error by Smith gave Castleton a 16-15 lead, but the Badgers took it right back with three straight points. After drawing within one, 18-17, Castleton surrendered a 6-1 run to NVU-Johnson as the Badgers took a commanding, 24-18 lead. Castleton hung tough, as Hamelink served the Spartans to a 24-24 score with an ace and a handful of Badger errors. NVU-Johnson again closed the set strong, winning back-to-back points to claim set two, 26-24.
The final set opened with three consecutive points for NVU-Johnson, but Castleton cruised back to go ahead 12-8. The Badgers then ripped off five straight points to go ahead 13-12, but Castleton continued to hang with them to regain the lead at 17-16 after a trio of Badger errors. A 4-0 run by NVU-Johnson gave it a 20-17 lead, but again Castleton stormed back to knot the score at 20-20. Havill notched her ninth kill of the day to give the Badgers a 21-20 lead, and they never looked back as they won five of the last six points to seal the match with a 25-21 third-set victory.
Castleton returns to the court Saturday, September 14, at NVU-Lyndon. Match time is slated for noon.