Women’s Volleyball Falls 3-2 to Norwich in TVVC Championship Conclusion

alyssa kuchis serves up the ball

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Vermont Volleyball Classic's inaugural championship match was concluded at Norwich University Tuesday evening with the hosting Cadets topping the Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team 3-2 at Andrews Hall.

SVC won the first set 25-14 in its home gym back on September 3, and NU was leading 20-16 in the second set when the contest was suspended due to unsafe floor conditions. The Cadets would finish the frame on Tuesday with a 25-19 victory before taking the third by a 25-20 margin. The Mountaineers came back to tie the match with a 25-17 win in the fourth, but NU finished off the night and took the decider 15-7.

Southern Vermont (16-4) returns to New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. first serve at Elms College—that being a rematch of the 2017 NECC semifinals.

Mountaineer senior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) led all players with 23 kills, and she added 11 digs for her seventh double-double of the year. Fellow senior Heidy Benitez (Tulare, Calif.) popped up a match-high 32 digs to tie her season best, and junior Sarah Baty (Portola, Calif.) recorded 32 assists, eight digs, and three aces.

After having defeated Norwich 3-1 earlier in the day on September 3, SVC jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the opening set of the title match. Points went back-and-forth before Sowles landed five kills to help the Mountaineers take six of the last eight and win the game.

A kill from Baty put Southern Vermont in front 10-9 during the second frame, but the Cadets then rattled off 10-straight points. The Mountaineers grabbed the momentum and won the next five, and each team served once more in Bennington before the coaches and match officials decided that the contest needed to be suspended. Benitez served an ace when play resumed Tuesday night, but the Cadets were able to close out the set on a 4-1 spurt to tie the match.

The two sides traded runs early in the third, but Norwich was able to pull away with a 9-2 run. Service went back-and-forth the rest of the way for the new hosts to take the upper hand in the evening.

Sowles landed four kills in the onset of the fourth to force an NU timeout with SVC on top 7-4. The run swapping continued before a 10-1 storm by the Mountaineers made it set point. Southern Vermont junior Meg Maddalena (Portola, Calif.) then put down a kill, after two Cadet points, to tie the match at two games apiece.

Norwich seized the momentum in the fifth frame and built a lead that was too much for SVC to come back from. It was a 9-1 Cadet run that put NU ahead by seven, and that separation would be carried through the final serve of the tournament.