Hamilton College's Giuliana Rankin '20 racked up a season-high 21 kills and the Continentals defeated the Trinity College Bantams 3-1 in their 2019 NESCAC opener on Saturday afternoon at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.
Hamilton (7-3, 1-0 NESCAC) had a 53-40 kill advantage and recorded a .203 hitting percentage as the Continentals extended their winning streak to five matches. Trinity (4-5, 0-2) has lost two in a row -- both in conference action.
After dropping the first set 25-22, the Continentals won the next three by scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 26-24. Hamilton's highest hitting percentage came in the third set at .278, while the Bantams only achieved as high as .167 in the fourth.
The Continentals racked up season-highs in kills, service aces (14) and points (73), while also matching season-bests in assists (49) and blocks (6).
Rankin's 21 kills were just one shy of her career-best 22, a benchmark she achieved as a first-year in a 3-2 win at Colby College on Oct. 29, 2016. Rankin ranks third in the NESCAC in both kills per set at 3.26 and total kills at 111.
Deirdre Corrigan '23 recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 digs and 10 kills. She also matched a season best with four service aces. Kendall Boxe '22 and Dorothy Poucher '21 finished with eight kills apiece. Jo Dine '22 dished out 36 assists and Kendall Searcy '20 and Kayla Self '21 had three service aces apiece. Dine is third in the NESCAC with an average of 8.16 assists per set.
Nikki Matsuoka '21 led the defensive effort with 25 digs, Searcy helped with 16 and Self added 10. Matsuoka ranks third in the conference in both digs per set (5.24) and total digs (178). Jane Fanning '22 assisted with three blocks at the net.
Hereena Johnson had a team-high 12 kills for Trinity. Ally Conde tallied 11 kills and Colette Scheffers had seven. Scheffers added 15 digs and Jessica Yang delivered 35 assists. Four of Trinity's 11 service aces came from Conde and three came from Yang.
The Bantams jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set before the Continentals slowly battled back. With Corrigan behind the end line and Hamilton down 13-6, the first-year served up three straight aces and cut Hamilton's deficit to four. Rankin immediately followed with a kill off a feed from Poucher to make the score 13-10. Hamilton got within one point at 16-15 after a service ace by Self, and again at 23-22 on a Bantam attack error, but Trinity took the opening set after a Hamilton attack error and service ace by Wyllie Boughton.
The second set had three ties and three lead changes before Hamilton took control with back-to-back aces by Searcy for a 9-7 lead. Trinity got one point back with a kill by Molly Bernstein, but the Continentals responded with four unanswered points for a five-point cushion at 13-8. The Bantams never got closer than three points the rest of the set.
Trinity jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third set, but again the Continentals were unfazed. A service error by Boughton switched the momentum as Hamilton went on an 11-2 run and took a 13-9 advantage. The Bantams clawed back to within two points at 22-20 and 23-21, but back-to-back kills by Rankin and Boxe shut the door on set three.
An exciting fourth set featured 13 ties and seven lead changes. The final tie was at 24-24 following a Trinity kill by Scheffers and an ace by Yang. The Bantams ended the match with two straight attack errors.
In celebration of Fallcoming and Family Weekend, the Continentals host Williams College for a NESCAC match on Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.