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Late Comeback Inches Mount Holyoke past Wellesley Volleyball, 3-2

Kaija Kunze-Hoeg '26 (Frank Poulin)
Kaija Kunze-Hoeg '26 (Frank Poulin)

HOLYOKE, Mass. - Mount Holyoke erased a two set deficit in a 3-2 (17-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15, 15-10) comeback win over Wellesley College volleyball Saturday at Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium.

Sophomore libero Lucie Berclaz (Hull, Mass.) paced the defense for the Lyons (6-7 Overall, 1-4 NEWMAC) with 17 digs, and seniors Marion Abeja (Kumi, Uganda) and Mar Simon (Miami, Fla.) each provided 10 kills. First year Kaija Kunze-Hoeg (Eagan, Minn.) recorded 29 digs, a single-game record for the libero, in the Blue's (5-9 Overall, 0-5 NEWMAC) setback. Sophomore Jennifer Yu (Shanghai, China) and junior Kate Salembier (Sierra Madre, Calif.) had 12 and 11 kills respectively.

After back and forth play to begin the first set, the Blue used a three point run with two kills from Yu to push their lead to 17-14. The Lyons got Wellesley's lead back down to one at 18-17, but Wellesley won the final seven points of the set backed by two kills from Salembier and a service ace from Yu to win 25-17.

Wellesley opened the second set with a 5-0 run and pushed their lead to 11-3 with crisp offense from Yu and sophomore Rachel Xu (Beijing, China). The Lyons regrouped and used a kill from Simon to cut the lead back to two at 17-15. Wellesley jumped to 22-16 before Mount Holyoke cut the gap to one at 23-22. Back to back kills from first year Kennedy Mayo (Long Branch, N.J.) and Salembier closed out a 25-22 set for the Blue.

The Lyons came out dangerous in the third, with a 15-3 lead highlighted by multiple kills from first year Elle Rimando (Mililani, Hawaii). The Blue got the lead down to eight at 23-15 but never cut the gap back as Mount Holyoke took the third 25-15.

The Lyons used their momentum to push forward early in the fourth. MHC lead 11-4 with Simon and Abeja firing kills. A four point run helped Wellesley get the score back to 16-13, but a seven point run from Mount Holyoke killed any momentum the Blue had. The Lyons took a 25-15 fourth set to force a deciding fifth.

Wellesley led 3-1 on a kill from sophomore Mikayla Tansil (Warren, Mich.). After tying the game, the Lyons took the lead at 7-6, and then had a four point run to get within two points of victory at 13-8. A two point push from Wellesley was in vain as a kill from Abeja finished the fifth set 15-10 to complete the Lyons comeback.

Wellesley will complete the second half of their two game road trip on Tuesday with a 7:00 PM NEWMAC game at Wheaton. The Lyons will hope to earn a second NEWMAC win on Tuesday when they travel to New London, Conn. to take on Coast Guard.