Volleyball powers its way past Wheaton at Hall of Fame tourney

From left to right: Meghan Wilkinson '19, Nikki Matsuoka '21, Claire Kitz '19 and Emma Parkhurst '21 (Josh McKee photo)
From left to right: Meghan Wilkinson '19, Nikki Matsuoka '21, Claire Kitz '19 and Emma Parkhurst '21 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Emma Parkhurst '21 posted 17 kills and 22 assists, and the Continentals recorded a four-set victory against Wheaton College (Mass.) in the 2018 Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction Tournament at Amherst College's LeFrak Gymnasium on Friday night.

Hamilton (7-10 overall) tied a season high with 61 kills and registered a .272 hitting percentage. The Continentals handed the Lyons just their fifth loss this year and second this week. Wheaton, a member of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) still owns an overall record of 21-5.

Dorothy Poucher '21 chipped in a season-high 13 kills and served four aces for Hamilton. Giuliana Rankin '20 hammered 10 kills and was credited with two blocks. Kendall Boxe '22 and Claire Kitz '19 contributed eight kills apiece. Meghan Wilkinson '19 passed out 24 assists and ended up with 13 digs. Nikki Matsuoka '21, who is second in the NESCAC with 5.45 digs per set, led the Continentals' defense with 23 and Kayla Self '21 had 15.

Casey Dinga paced the Lyons with nine kills, Becca Houghton handed out 30 assists, Sabrina Buxeda smacked three aces and Cat MacGregor came away with 14 digs. Adara Hamilton and Claire Cansler led the defense at the net with four blocks apiece.

The first set featured 10 ties but Wheaton eventually opened up an 18-15 lead. Hamilton responded with an 8-1 spurt and took control of the set. Parkhurst's kill closed out the set as the Continentals prevailed 25-21.

Hamilton won the second set by the same score. This set was close as well with six lead changes as neither team held a lead of more than four points. The Lyons held an 18-17 edge after an attack error by the Continentals, but Hamilton rallied with a 5-1 run. After a service error by the Continentals made it 23-21, Wilkinson and Parkhurst closed out the set with kills.

Neither team led by more than two points in the third set until Hamilton rattled off three in a row for a 20-16 cushion. Wheaton roared back with a 7-1 run only to have the Continentals tie the score at 23-23 on a pair of kills by Kitz. Houghton and Hamilton put down kills and the Lyons forced a fourth set with a 25-23 victory.

In the fourth set Hamilton jumped out to an 8-4 lead. Wheaton scored the next two points but the Continentals grabbed control of the set, and the match, with seven consecutive points while Self served. Boxe and Rankin had two kills apiece during the stretch and Jane Fanning '22 added another. The Lyons didn't get closer than eight points the rest of the set as Hamilton cruised to the 25-15 win. Kitz clinched the set and the match with another kill.