Women’s Volleyball Wins Five-set Thriller Over Sage

abigail landon goes up to hit the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – It was no easy task, but the Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team pulled out an exciting 3-2 win over The Sage Colleges Monday night in non-conference action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

The visiting Gators held on to clip SVC 25-22 in the opening set before the Mountaineers came back to tie the match with a strong 25-13 tally in the second. Southern Vermont carried its momentum to a 25-22 victory in the next frame, but Sage extended the evening by claiming the fourth 25-12.

SVC led 8-2 in the decisive fifth—only to see the Gators come back to tie it 13-13; the Mountaineers prevailed, however, and won the next two points for their third-straight win.

Next up for Southern Vermont (10-1) is a Saturday home match against Dean College with that New England Collegiate Conference showdown set to begin at 4 p.m. Sage (3-7) begins Empire 8 Athletic Conference play with its next match—hosting Hartwick College on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. first serve.

SVC senior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) registered a match-best 21 kills while also having eight digs and three aces on the night. Junior Sarah Baty (Portola, Calif.) notched her second double-double in the Mountaineer uniform with 31 assists and 20 digs while senior libero Heidy Benitez (Tulare, Calif.) recorded a match-high 32 digs in the win.

Sage ran out to a 7-1 lead to start the night and held the advantage through most of the set, but Southern Vermont was able to chip away and eventually tie it up 20-20. The Gators took four of the next six, however, to end the game and take the early upper hand in the contest.

SVC rattled off four straight in the front end of the second game with the help of a Benitez ace, and the Mountaineers would later catch fire and finish the frame on a 14-2 surge. Sowles had four kills and a service ace in that latter stretch.

The third set was tightly contested until Sage won seven unanswered points to go in front 16-9, but Southern Vermont came storming back with eight straight of its own to take an edge. After the Gators momentarily regained the lead, the hosts took the last seven points of the game to make it a 2-1 match.

Refusing to go quietly, Sage jumped out to a 9-2 upper hand in the fourth and never looked back en route to the comfortable, contest-tying victory.

The Mountaineers seized the momentum after the coin toss and snagged an 8-2 lead in the fifth with the help of three Sowles kills. The Gators kept it from getting away from them and won four in-a-row before going on a 5-1 spurt to tie it at 13-13. Consecutive errors by Sage, however, made way for Southern Vermont to celebrate the tough victory.