Volleyball wins two straight as Paige Caridi ’16 reaches 1,000 digs

by Daniel Lee | 11/10/15 6:01pm

After losing nine straight sets to start the second half of the season, the women’s volleyball team made the necessary adjustments to break its three-game losing streak and defeat Columbia and Cornell Universities at home this past weekend.

Dartmouth (11-10, 8-4 Ivy) remains tied with Princeton University (13-8, 8-4 Ivy) for second place in the Ivy League standings, and both teams trail Harvard University (13-9, 9-3 Ivy) by one win with two games left in the season.

Dartmouth kicked off the weekend against Columbia, whom the Big Green had edged in a 3-2 nailbiter earlier in the season. There continued to be little separation between the two teams as the first set started off tight.

The Big Green trailed 12-14 after the Lions went on a 5-1 run, the longest of the set at that point. A kill by Sierra Lyle ’19, however, sparked an 8-1 run and Dartmouth cruised the rest of the set to a 25-18 victory.

The second set of the match featured a similar storyline with reversed roles. After leading 8-6, Dartmouth committed five attack errors that allowed Columbia to go on a 7-1 run. The Lions ended the second set at the same final score of 25-18 and tied the match at a set apiece.

The teams remained close in the third set, and Dartmouth led 23-22 after a kill by Paige Caridi ’16 and a service ace by Lyle. Despite the set going into sudden death, Dartmouth took a 2-1 lead in the game after three attack errors by the Lions ended the set at 26-24. The Big Green took a 15-14 lead in the fourth and final set of the game and did not forfeit their lead and won the set 25-22.

“We focused in practice this past week a lot on our serving and that was important for our success, because we had to keep serves in, but keep them tough so that we could get the team out of rhythm,” Astarita said.

During the win, Caridi became the 10th Dartmouth player to reach 1,000 career digs in program history as she finished with eight digs and seven kills. Lyle added six kills and 16 digs, while Emily Astarita ’17 registered 16 kills and 17 digs.

“It was really exciting and made me really happy,” Caridi said. “To be honest, I wasn’t keeping track of it, so I was just as surprised as other people were but it’s a good feeling to know that the hard work that I’ve been putting in has paid off. It’s exciting to know that I’ve prevented a thousand kills.”

After snapping its losing streak against Columbia, Dartmouth was able to replicate its early season form in a dominant straight sets win over Cornell.

In its final home game of the season and the seniors’ last game in Leede Arena, the Big Green exploded out of the gates against the Big Red, taking an early 7-0 lead which later became a 20-6 lead. Dartmouth easily won the first set 25-10.

The second set proved to be a bit more competitive, but Dartmouth enjoyed the same results. After trailing 14-15, the Big Green went on a 6-0 run that propelled the team to a 25-18 second set win.

Despite the 2-0 hole, Cornell continued to fight and forced Dartmouth into a tight situation late in the third set. With Dartmouth up 24-23, Cornell freshman Carla Sganderlla nearly forced a fourth set with two consecutive kills to give the Big Red a 25-24 lead. Kayden Cook ’16, however, stepped in and registered a kill to save set point and ended the match with a pair of service aces.

Astarita registered 14 kills and 11 digs, Lyle added 10 kills and nine digs and Cook dished 39 assists.

The team was most successful in minimizing service errors throughout the two games and managed to maintain their rhythm and momentum late in the sets. The team registered six service aces against Columbia and five service aces against Cornell.

“We worked a lot on being aggressive and keeping [our serves] when we needed it for momentum purposes so that was very huge,” Lyle said. “Our offense was effective and diverse and we changed our defense tactically against those teams and that worked a lot in stopping their offense.”

The team will travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to play against Brown University (10-14, 4-8 Ivy) for the penultimate game of the season and will head to Yale University (12-9, 7-5 Ivy) to face the defending Ivy League champions for the decisive final game of the season.