NORTH ADAMS >> The MCLA volleyball team was one match from making school history on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Trailblazers, Framingham State had other ideas.
The defending champion Rams scored a 3-0 win over the top-seeded Trailblazers in the MASCAC championship match in the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium. The set scores were 25-21, 26-24, 25-21.
With the win, Framingham (25-8) advances to the NCAA Division III tournament with the conference's automatic bid. MCLA (23-10) will wait for a possible bid to the ECAC Division III New England Tournament.
MASCAC player of the year Alycia Rackliffe led the way for second-seeded Framingham. She had a match-high 20 kills. She also had four blocks and 18 digs.
MCLA's first-team, All-MASCAC standout Allison Clark had a team-high 11 kills. Brittney Pihl had 31 digs for MCLA.
After dropping the first two sets, MCLA kept clawing back in the third. The Trailblazers cut the Framingham lead to one, but Sarah Leonard and Rackliffe scored on consecutive kills and MCLA got no closer.
In the first semifinal, MCLA scored a 25-17, 25-16, 26-28, 26-24 win over Bridgewater State. Clark had 26 kills in the match.
Framingham defeated Westfield in the second semifinal by scores of 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22.
In Brunswick, Maine, Williams needed five sets to defeat Little Three rival Amherst and make its way into the NESCAC championship match.
The second-seeded Ephs (18--9) rallied to take the last two sets and beat third-seeded Amherst (22-4) 25-21, 32-34, 21-25, 25-21, 17-15.
With the win, Williams will take on top-seeded Bowdoin today at noon for the NESCAC title and the automatic NCAA Division III Tournament berth. The Ephs are seeking their third consecutive NESCAC title.
Ally Ostrow led the way for Williams with 20 kills, while Tori Jasuta had 32 digs and Ryan Farley had 58 assists.
Maggie Danner had 20 kills for Amherst and Nicole Carter had 50 assists.
ECAC CROSS COUNTRY
At Mount Greylock High School in Williamstown, the Williams men finished second in the ECAC meet and the Eph women were third.
Williams sophomore Liam Simpson edged Amherst's Steven Lucey at the tape to win the men's 8-kilometer race. Simpson's time was 26 minutes, 24.2 seconds. Lucey's time was 26:24.6.
Amherst won the ECAC title with 53 points, while Williams was second with 77 and Middlebury was third with 117. The MCLA men were 28th overall.
MCLA's Ryan McMahon ran a 29:56.36 and was 146th out of 277.
Tufts won the women's race with the University of New England second and Williams third.
Tiana Thomas of UNE won the 6-k race in 22:54.2. Finishing second was Tufts' Lindsay Atkeson in 23:02.9, while Williams' Meg Richardson was third in 23:06.4.
LENOX 2, SMITH ACADEMY 1
In Lenox, Sandra Arace scored the winning goal with 50 seconds left in the game, lifting No. 2 Lenox over No. 7 Smith Academy in the Western Mass. Division III quarterfinals. Lenox advances to face No. 3 Gateway. A date and time for the game is to be decided.
Jaclynn Hathaway set-up Arace's goal with a corner kick into the box. Arace battled a Smith defender for the ball, took a touch and fired into the back of the net for the winner.
Arace added the equalizer as well, receiving a pass from Nicole Gamberoni, and beating a Smith defender with seven minutes left in the game.
"Being down at halftime, I noticed the team had its head down," Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said. "I reminded them that we've been here before and have come back from multiple goals. The whole second half they started to believe and have confidence.
"To get the winner in last minute. ... It's a great feeling."
SA — Mia Ellis (Moira Pitrat), 36:00.
L — Alessandra Arace (Nicole Gamberoni), 73:00. L — Arace (Jaclynn Hathaway), 79:00.
Saves — SA: Brooke Pashek 13. L: Shannon Meisberger 9.
MONUMENT MOUNTAIN 3, PALMER 1
In Palmer, No. 5 seeded Monument Mountain used well-timed passing to defeat No. 4 Palmer in the Western Mass. Division III quarterfinals.
Aubrey Blanchard started the scoring for Monument, firing home a deflected ball for the first score of the game.
Palmer answered with a goal in the 30th minute, but the Spartans scored again off a perfectly executed corner kick from Crista Cardillo. Cardillo lifted the corner into the box, dropping it onto the foot of Allison Kinne, who volleyed it into the net for the winner. Monument added an own goal for insurance in the 58th minute.
The Spartans await the winner of No. 1 Granby and No. 8 Athol.
"When you're working together and your teammates are right where you expect them to be, you get a lot of chances in a row," Monument coach Jess Platt said.
MM — Aubrey Blanchard (Crista Cardillo), 4. P — Unknown, 30:00.
MM — Allison Kinne (Cardillo), 43:00. MM — Own Goal, 58:00.
Saves — P: Unknown 8. MM: Emily Shaw 4.