Wellesley Volleyball Outlasts Bowdoin in Five-Set Final at Wesleyan Invitational

Lauren Gedney (l) and Nicole Doerges (r) combined for 37 kills in the win (Julia Monaco).
Lauren Gedney (l) and Nicole Doerges (r) combined for 37 kills in the win (Julia Monaco).

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Wellesley College volleyball earned a 17-15 win in the fifth set to clinch a 3-2 (24-26, 25-22, 27-29, 25-15, 17-15) win over Bowdoin College in non-conference action on Friday night at the Wesleyan (Conn.) Invitational.

Wellesley rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 set deficits to improve to 2-0 on the season. Bowdoin is 0-1 to start the season. The two teams will meet again next Friday, September 13, at the MIT Invitational. 

Junior Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) finished with a match-high 21 kills and on 56 attempts (.286) for the Blue. Outside hitters Nicole Doerges (San Marino, Calif.) and Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) each totaled double-doubles, as Doerges finished with 16 kills and 14 digs and Jensen tallied 11 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore setter Izzy Seebold (Concord, N.C.) had a double-double of her own with 40 assists and 17 digs. Senior libero Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.) totaled a match-high 22 digs. 

Three players finished with double-digit kills for the Polar Bears, led by Caroline Flaharty's (Fort Myers, Fla.) 16 on 45 attempts (.244). Flaharty added 17 digs to finish with a double-double. Sophia Paul (Cedarburg, Wis.) also recorded a double-double for Bowdoin with 13 kills and 12 digs. Ashley Williams (Lake Forest, Ill.) was the third Polar Bear in double-figures on offense with 13 kills. Kate Kiser (Ingleside, Ill.) dished out 48 assists and Emily King (Apple Valley, Minn.) finished with a team-high 19 digs. 

With Wellesley leading 24-23 late in the first set, Flaharty and Williams put down back-to-back kills to swing the set back in favor of the Polar Bears. A Blue error then helped Bowdoin take a 1-0 lead. Trailing 1-0, the Blue seized momentum late in the second set to tie the match, 1-1. With the score tied 20-20, Wellesley scored five of the final six points in the frame, eventually capturing the set 25-21 on a Flaharty service error. 

Bowdoin only trailed briefly in the third set but had to withstand a late push from the Blue to hold on for a 29-27 victory and a 2-1 advantage in the match. However, for the second time on the night, the Blue rallied to tie the match. Wellesley never trailed in the fourth set, turning a 19-10 lead into a 25-15 victory.

Trailing 7-4 in the fifth set, the Blue scored three straight points to knot the score at 7-7. Wellesley then jumped to a 14-11 lead before Bowdoin fought off three straight match points to make the score 14-14. A Kiser kill gave Bowdoin a 15-14 lead, but kills from Gedney and Doerges and a match ending block from Doerges and Molly Weik (Seattle, Wash.) clinched the victory for Wellesley.

The Blue continue the Wesleyan (Conn.) Invitational with a pair of matches tomorrow. Wellesley will play the host Cardinals at 10:00 AM before closing out the tournament at 2:00 PM against Rhode Island College.