Bears Split at Amherst Classic

AMHERST, MASS.--(9/24/11)--Led by senior Cristy Meier's team-high 15 kills Amherst rallied from a 2-0 deficit, defeating Coast Guard 3-2 (13-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-8) to wrap up play at the 2011 Amherst Classic.

With the win, the Lord Jeffs improved to 8-2 overall on the season, while the Bears fell to 9-3 on the year.

Ahead 8-4 in the first, Coast Guard extended their lead to seven at 19-12, prompting Amherst's second timeout. The Bears continued to stay aggressive coming out of the break, finishing strong en route to a 25-13 win.

Coast Guard carried their momentum into the start of the second, building an early 4-0 edge, but Amherst battled back, knotting the set at nine. Later up 18-11, the Bears did just enough down the stretch, outscoring their Jeff counterparts 7-5 to take a 25-16 win.

Looking to stay alive, Amherst went up early in the third, taking a 12-9 edge. The Lord Jeffs later upped their margin to 19-13 before closing out the set on a Lauren Antion kill that made it 25-19. With some newfound confidence, Amherst took an 8-4 advantage in the fourth before a 6-1 Coast Guard run momentarily stalled the surging Jeffs.

Amherst responded with a 7-2 rally of its own, going up 16-12 on back-to-back Claire Hoffman spikes. A determined Bears squad fought back, pulling even at 18, but a Meier kill coupled with a Kristin Keeno service ace gave the Jeffs a two-point cushion.

Still up by two at 22-20 following another Meier kill, Amherst tallied the set's last three points, knotting the match at two sets apiece when Abigail Hunter and Hoffman teamed up to block Coast Guard's Catherine Walker.

Hoping to get off to a good start, Amherst registered three of the tiebreak's first four points, going up 3-1 on a KC Kanoff kill. Up 11-6, Keeno notched her second ace of the day, extending the Lord Jeff margin. At match point minutes later, the Jeffs again turned to Hoffman, who hammered home the game winner, sealing Amherst's come-from-behind bid.

Hoffman hit a match-best .579 with 11 kills, adding 12 digs, while Kanoff finished with 11 spikes and six digs. Junior setter Callie Neilson matched a season-high with 50 assists, while Keeno collected a match-best 30 digs.

For Coast Guard sophomore middle blocker Kelsey DePorto registered a match-high 17 kills, hitting .483 with five digs, while freshman Kelsey Hickle had 13 kills. Junior setter Karen Matic finished with 36 assists and 13 kills, while freshman Elise Sako added 17 assists. Sophomore Sam Marmolejo and junior Keriann Mason combined for 36 digs, while Walker finished with eight kills and 15 digs.

Earlier in the day, Coast Guard beat Brandeis 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 25-17) as DePorto led Coast Guard with 10 kills.

Hickle added five kills and Matic finished with 23 assists and four kills. Mason and Marmolejo collected 16 and 13 digs, respectively. while Sako chipped in with three service aces in the win.

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