Huskies claim senior day victory over William & Mary


Elizabeth Scholl

Senior libero Kayla Martin dives to hit the ball against William & Mary Nov. 12.

Amelia Ballingall, news staff

On Nov. 13, in a Sunday afternoon match on home court, the Huskies (13-12, 10-6 CAA) defeated the College of William & Mary (11-13, 6-10 CAA) 3-1 to complete the weekend sweep over the Virginia university and close out the regular season. Northeastern defeated the Tribe 3-0 Nov. 12.

The senior day event recognized the hard work and dedication of every graduating member of the team by presenting them with leis and photographing them with their families, coaches and loved ones. Framed jerseys were given to the six seniors on the team and canvas images of their game highlights were gifted to the two graduate students. The eight athletes honored before the game included graduate student middle blocker Nikiya Mitchell, senior libero Kayla Martin, senior setter Liz Carroll, senior middle blocker Anya Korbut, senior middle blocker Nailah Jenkins, senior outside hitter Erica Staunton, graduate student outside hitter Laura Seeger and senior outside hitter Evelyn Gonzalez.

When the teams took the court for the first set, the Huskies seized an early lead, forcing William & Mary into its first timeout of the day at 5-1. The Tribe rallied back to a mere one-point deficit at 6-5, but an ace from junior outside hitter Defne Arliel kept the Huskies ahead. For the next stretch of play, Northeastern maintained its dominance, and the Tribe called a second timeout at 17-9. 

William & Mary scored twice in a row in an attempt to close the gap, but an ace from Carroll and two consecutive kills from Arliel blew it back apart to 21-12. 

The two teams scored back and forth right up until game point, 24-15. William & Mary was able to stall the Huskies just inches from a set victory, taking them to 24-18 before an out-of-bounds hit from the Tribe awarded the first set to the Huskies. 

The second set started off more evenly, but the Huskies began to crawl ahead after a sequence of errors from the Tribe.

Arliel continued her reign of the court in the second set, notching three kills and two aces on top of the five-kill performance she had just shown in the first.

With half the score of the Huskies, William & Mary took their first timeout of the set at 12-6.

The Tribe was able to gain a couple points back, but Staunton broke the streak with a kill and set Northeastern back on pace. 

After a touch from Gonzalez — her fourth kill of the afternoon — sent the Huskies up 16-12, William & Mary struggled to get a handle on the match and Northeastern continued to rocket its way up to an eight-point lead.

Despite taking its second timeout at 19-12, William & Mary was unable to make decent headway in the match, and the Huskies took the second set 25-16.

The third set started off just the way the last one ended with a kill from junior middle blocker Marika Virthe. However, William & Mary came back to fight, keeping an even match throughout the entire set. 

Northeastern kept the advantage for the majority of the set, with Arliel and Jenkins contributing tie breaks to give the team the edge. With sophomore outside hitter Rafaella Lepenioti serving two consecutive aces, the Huskies began to sneak away 15-12, and the Tribe called a timeout. 

William & Mary then brought it back to a one-point difference, 15-14, but Staunton broke the Tribe’s momentum with a kill. 

The two teams continued to tie until a pair of errors from Northeastern put the Tribe ahead. 

The Huskies then took their first timeout of the game at 19-21. 

Northeastern immediately tied up the score again 21-21, but another service error gave the lead back over to the Tribe. 

At 22-24, Northeastern called its second timeout. 

The Huskies were able to notch one more point before William & Mary took the set 25-23.

Northeastern scored the first point of set four, but the Tribe quickly forced its way ahead 3-1. 

An ace from Staunton tied it up at 3-3, but William & Mary held its lead with the next point. 

The Tribe stayed on top for the majority of the set, getting as far as a three-point lead over the Huskies at 11-14 before a pair of service errors narrowed the gap.

Northeastern evened the score at 15-15, then gained two points in a row to put the Huskies over the top. 

Willam & Mary called a timeout at 17-15, but the Huskies were on fire, holding the Tribe at 15 points to their second timeout and beyond, scoring an impressive eight points in a row. 

After the ball bounced on top of the net and out of bounds, William & Mary tried to climb back up, but the damage was done. 

With the crowd on their feet, cheering for the home team, Northeastern took the fourth set 25-23 and left senior day victorious. 

Two Huskies came out of the 2-0 weekend with landmark events: Staunton tallied her 1000th career kill in Saturday’s match and Martin was named CAA Defensive Player of the Week.

The fourth-seed Huskies then traveled to Towson, Maryland to take on fifth-seed Elon University in the CAA Quarterfinals Nov. 17. After winning the match 3-1, the Huskies fell to first-seed Towson University 0-3 in the semifinals Nov. 18.