Wellesley Volleyball Outlasts Wheaton To Take Five-Set NEWMAC Victory

Junior Samantha Hoang (Julia Monaco)
Junior Samantha Hoang (Julia Monaco)

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College volleyball rallied from a first set defeat to down visiting Wheaton College in five sets, 3-2 (22-25, 25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 15-10), in a New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match on Tuesday night at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.

Wellesley has now won four matches in-a-row to improve to 6-3 overall and 3-0 in NEWMAC play. The Lyons, having now lost back-to-back five set matches, are now 9-4 (1-1 NEWMAC) on the year. 

A balanced Blue offense paced by 37 assists from junior setter Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) geared the Wellesley victory. The Blue got 13 kills from first year outside hitters Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.Y.) and Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.), while junior Samantha Ostenso (Hopkins, Minn.) collected a dozen and first year Darina Postupaka (Tinley Park, Ill.) added 10. Wellesley collected 60 digs as a squad, getting a match-high 21 from junior Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) and 11 from sophomore Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.). At the net, junior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) finished with five total blocks to lead all players. 

First year Julia Palomba (San Carlos, Calif.) totaled a match-best 15 kills on 31 attempts for Wheaton, hitting .290. Junior Cathryn MacGregor (North Andover, Mass.) added 10 kills, nine digs and a pair of aces, while classmate Claire Cansler (Newhall, Calif.) chipped in with eight kills and five digs. Senior libero Stephanie Martin (Centerville, Mass.) had a team-high with 16 digs in the match and sophomore setter Becca Houghton (Emmaus, Pa.) finished four assists shy of her season-high with 39. 

The Blue stumbled out of the blocks, as a back-and-forth opening set fell in favor of the Lyons when they scored six-straight points to rally from a 22-19 deficit to win the opener, 25-22. Wellesley rebounded in the second set, breaking away from the visitors to take leads of 15-10 and 20-11, before taking a 25-14 final. 

The teams played to a 15-15 tie in the third game but Wellesley took control of the set with a 7-0 run, taking a 22-15 lead on an ace from Hoang. The Blue went on to close out the game, 25-19, to take a 2-1 lead. Wheaton responded in the fourth set, earning a 25-23 win to even the match at 2-2. Palomba capped the victory, putting down a kill to send the game to the fifth set.

Wellesley never trailed in the fifth set, taking leads of 3-0 and 7-3, and holding off a Wheaton rally that briefly closed the gap to 7-6. Wheaton kept the score close, with Wellesley only leading 11-10 late in the game, but a 4-0 run ended the match with a 15-10 win for the Blue. 

Both teams will travel to Worcester for NEWMAC matches on Saturday, September 23. Wellesley will play at WPI at 1:00 PM and Wheaton will play at Clark at 11:00 AM.