Falcons fight to the end in five-set thriller against Bonduel
By Jacob Heid
AMHERST — When you think of heavyweight fights, you imagine two fighters going punch for punch, with nothing going by easy. That is exactly how you’d describe the Amherst and Bonduel volleyball game on Sept 20. The Falcons hosted the Bears and fell short in five long sets, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 15-6.
Amherst opened the game flat-footed but crawled back to an early 6-5 lead. Bonduel didn’t hold back after being punched early. They found momentum in the middle of the first set, attacking the Falcons from multiple angles. The Bears led 14-10 at that point. Bonduel played spectacular coverage all night, not allowing much to find the floor. The home team showed their defensive ability late in the first. Two huge blocks put Amherst within one, 22-21, until Bonduel spotted a set right in the middle of Amherst’s defense for the win.
Amherst fights back
The Falcons found their groove offensively in the second set. Every point was tough, but Amherst found a way.
“Even our little dumps were making points,” head coach Autumn Groshek said after the game. “Smart plays made points today. And blocks made points today.”
Amherst flew to a 15-9 lead halfway through the second set and kept the pedal to the floor. The Falcons turned to sophomore Amara Beaudoin, the size up front, late in the second. They closed it out with a six-point win.
The two teams continued to trade punches, with Bonduel leading 5-4 early on in the third. The defense was on point for both sides; Amherst tallied 98 digs in the game.
“Our coverage was pretty good,” Groshek said. “We lapsed a little bit in our five-hole, but coverage overall, we are usually pretty spot on.”
Another highly contested set showcased runs from both sides, and Bonduel took the two sets to one advantage after the third set. The spotlight was on Amherst’s Beaudoin on the front line in the fourth. She dominated at the net, including two momentum-swinging kills and a couple of blocks to tie the match at 2-2. Beaudoin finished the night with 13 of the 35 kills for Amherst. Senior Sara Breed also had a great night attacking the net.
Falcons fall short in the final set
The Bears shot out of a cannon in the final set, using their aggressiveness to their advantage. Bonduel took the fifth set quickly, 15-6.
“They were scrappy. We couldn’t find any holes on them,” Groshek stated. “We had a few good dumps, but they picked up everything. That was the difference.”
The Falcons close the regular season against three of the top CWC teams in their respective divisions in the five games remaining. Amherst will play Iola-Scandinavia, Pacelli, and Wittenberg-Birnamwood in the final stretch, and Groshek says her team is up for the challenge. If you have other local sports stories, you can contact me at [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter at JacobHeid_15 for updates on local sporting events.