Williamstown, Mass. - November 15, 2013 - Senior Tessa Smolinski (Hebron, Conn.) pounded 14 kills at a .619 clip and chipped in 12 digs to power the Springfield College women's volleyball team to a three-game sweep of Baruch in the NCAA Division III Championship Regional Quarterfinals on Friday evening. Set scores were 25-18, 25-8, 27-25.
Springfield now advances to the NCAA Championship Regional Semifinals for the fourth-straight season and will play Williams. The Pride are now 26-5 on the season.
The Pride, which entered the match with the nation's second-best team hitting percentage, hit .424 on the night as Whitney Miller (Cuba, N.Y.) handed out 35 helpers. Smolinski was dominant from the pin with her double-double, while Kelsey McGayhey (Shelter Island, N.Y.) recorded nine kills while hitting .667 in two sets of action.
Both Daniella Crismani (San Francisco, Calif.), and Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) added eight kills, and Amy Entel (Berkley, Mass.) led all players with 17 digs.
For Baruch, Rebecca Peralta had a team-best nine kills, while both Michelle Stommes and Sydney Parks had eight kills. Crystle Dela Cruz registered 26 assists and 14 digs for the Bearcats, which hit .143 for the contest.
Springfield couldn't have asked for a better start to the match, registering 18 kills at a .529 clip in the opening frame. Both McGayhey and Smolinski produced five kills to fuel the Pride attack.
In the second set, Springfield continued its hot play, hitting .423 as it used another five kills from Smolinski and four aces, including two from Molly Giannattasio (East Lyme, Conn.). The Bearcats managed just three kills in the set as the Pride poured on the pressure from the opening whistle from the service line.
Baruch stormed back in the third set and the match seemed destined to go to four sets after back-to-back Stommes kills gave the Bearcats a 20-12 lead. Springfield head coach Moira Long burned her final timeout of the set, and the Pride responded with an incredible run, scoring seven of the sets next eight points to get within two at 21-19. Lindsay Runger (Closter, N.J.) was key in the burst, posting three-straight aces.
Peralta would later give Baruch set point at 24-20, but it was Springfield who would once again bear down. Miller sided out with a kill, and after a Kerry Purcell (Massapeau, N.Y.) kill and Baruch hitting error, Elise Brogan (North Andover, Mass.) delivered a monster solo block to even things at 24-all.
Smolinski and Peralta traded kills until Purcell ripped another kill for match point. Crismani tipped around the Baruch block to complete the three-game sweep.