CHICOPEE, Mass. -- Mount Ida cruised to a non-conference victory over Elms College on Columbus Day action at Picknelly Arena. The Mustangs took the victory in straight sets taking down the Blazers 26-24, 25-20, 26-24. The victory moves the Mustangs to 15-8 overall and 2-3 in GNAC action, while the Blazers fall to 11-9 and remain at 2-0 in NECC play.
The first set featured back-and-forth play between the squads with six tied scores, kicked off with the Mustangs grabbing a 7-6 lead on a pair of kills and an ace from sophomore Hanna Simpkins (Walpole, N.H.). Mount Ida senior Mary Kate Reidy (Agawam, Mass.) added a kill and an ace to escort the Mustangs advantage to 13-8. Trailing 18-12, the Blazers closed the gap with a 8-3 run, paced by two kills from junior Danielle Redding (Las Vegas, N.V.) and three aces from freshman Dakota Stewart (Victoria, Texas), to set the score at 21-20. Mount Ida set one point shy of victory, 24-20, on an ace from Reidy, but Elms responded with kills from freshman Ayanna Meadows (Springfield, Mass.) and sophomore Hannah Adams (Deerfield, Mass.) to even the score at 24-24. The Mustangs wrapped up the 26-24 win behind a double-block from freshman Rachael Colombo (Amityville, N.Y.) and a kill from junior Kristy Walton (Fairhaven, Mass.).
Mount Ida led throughout the set, jumping to a 5-0 lead in the second set on two kills from Reidy. The Blazers trimmed the deficit to 7-5 on a kill from Adams, but created separation with a kill and a block from Simpkins. Down 12-7, the Blazers rallied with two kills from Redding to sit one point back of Mount Ida, 13-12. The Mustangs rebuilt their lead with a 7-2 run, featuring two kills from Reidy, to hold a 20-14 advantage. Reidy served up two aces, and then freshman Julia Pelland (Brockton, Mass.) and Simpkins added kills to secure the 25-20 win.
Play was close early in the third set as a trio of kills from freshman Hayley Castanos (Santa Ana, Calif.) handed the Blazers a 10-6 lead. The Mustangs settled in with a 7-2 run, ignited by three kills and an ace from Reidy, to gain a 13-12 lead. The Blazers answered with a 5-2 run to regain an 18-15 lead, eventually pushing their advantage to 21-16 behind a Mustangs error. Mount Ida rattled off a 6-1 run to even the set at 22-22, and then back-to-back Mount Ida miscues put Elms one point shy of the set victory, 24-22. Mount Ida fended off defeat with strikes from Reidy and Colombo to tie the score at 24-24, and then sealed the 26-24 win on an ace from Reidy.
Redding led the Blazers attack with a team-high nine kills and 11 digs. Adams grabbed a team-high 17 digs with six kills, while junior Rachel Magnuson (Miller Place, N.Y.) added five kills and five digs. Stewart dished out a team-high 25 assists with 12 digs for her tenth double-double of the season.
The Mustangs charge was paced by Reidy, who posted match-highs in kills (14), digs (20) and aces (6). Walton tallied seven kills with nine digs, while Simpkins chipped in six kills, two aces and two digs. Mount Ida sophomore Alexis Bell (Salem, Conn.) registered a double-double with 26 assists and 12 digs in the win.
Mount Ida returns home to hosts St. Joseph (Conn.) in a GNAC match Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., while Blazers host Smith in non-conference action Thursday at Picknelly Arena at 6:00 p.m.