After dropping the first set, the nationally ranked No. 19 Wesleyan University Cardinals rallied for a four-set win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Wesleyan's Silloway Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Hamilton (10-11, 3-5 NESCAC) won the first set 26-24 before dropping the next three by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-22.
Wesleyan improved to 19-2 overall and concluded its regular season NESCAC schedule with a 9-1 record.
Giuliana Rankin '20 led the Hamilton attack with 20 kills and Deirdre Corrigan '23 had 15 while also helping out the defense with 17 digs for her third straight double-double and seventh of the season. Emma Parkhurst '21 recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 37 assists and 12 digs and added four service aces. Nikki Matsuoka '21 picked up a season-high 31 digs and Kendall Boxe '22 had four blocks at the net.
Maddie Kurke guided the Cardinals with a team-high 13 kills and Mia Hogan had 11. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson registered a double-double with 30 assists and 11 digs, while Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 31 digs. Nicole Hilton totaled six blocks and Gabby Bennett recorded five.
Trailing 11-7 in the first set, Hamilton went on a 10-2 run to pull ahead. The Cardinals answered with a 7-2 run and took a 20-19 lead. After some back-and-forth action, consecutive errors by the Continentals put Wesleyan ahead 24-23. However, Hamilton scored three straight points and took a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Cardinals went on a 6-0 run early in the second set and grabbed an 11-7 advantage. They led the rest of the way despite strong play by the Continentals to keep the score close. A kill by Hilton evened the match at one set apiece.
Hamilton never led in the third and a 4-0 stretch by the home team gave the Cardinals some cushion late in the set as they led 20-14. Wesleyan closed out the set with three straight points and pulled ahead in the match, 2-1.
The Continentals came out strong in the fourth and jumped out to a 5-1 lead before Wesleyan answered with a 7-1 run. Tied at 11-11, the Cardinals went on another run with four unanswered points that put them ahead for good. Hamilton got within two points down the stretch following a kill by Corrigan, but Wesleyan's Bennett answered with a match-winning kill.
Hamilton returns home for two NESCAC matches next weekend. The Continentals start the weekend by hosting Amherst College on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. inside Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.