Springfield, Mass. - September 26, 2013 - Tessa Smolinski (Hebron, Conn.) pounded a match-high 17 kills at a .516 clip to power the Springfield College women's volleyball team to a three-set win over Smith College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) battle in Blake Arena. Set scores were 25-19, 25-15, 25-20.
With the win, Springfield is now 11-1, 3-1 in league play, while the Pioneers drop to 8-3, 2-2.
To go along with her 17 kills, Smolinski chipped in 10 digs for the Pride, which was receiving votes in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll. Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) totaled nine kills, hitting .421, to go along with a match-high four blocks and Kelsey McGayhey (Shelter Island, N.Y.) produced seven kills. Whitney Miller (Cuba, N.Y.) helped the Pride to a .307 hitting percentage as she tallied 37 assists. Both Daniella Crismani (San Francisco, Calif) and Meghan Kinee (Williamstown, N.J.) delivered three aces.
For the Pioneers, Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H.) had eight kills, while the trio of Mei-Li Smith (Cypress, Calif.), Paige Sarlandt (Cloverdale, Calif), and Kristi Hammond (Yona Guam) each had six kills. Bethany Ashworth (North Falmouth, Mass.) notched 19 assists and 11 digs for the visitors, who hit .116 for the match.
Smith owned an early 15-12 lead on the Pride to start the match after Sarlandt fired an ace out of a timeout. Holt sided out for Springfield, kickstarting a 5-0 burst that was highlighted by a pair of Crismani aces to put the hosts up 17-15. The Pioneers would get as close as 19-18 on a Mei-Li Smith ace, only to have the Pride close out the set on a 6-1 spurt.
Springfield's offense started to find its rhythm in the second set as it hit .345 for the frame. The visitors once again took a quick 5-2 advantage, but Springfield soon seized control of the set as it went on to score 17 of the next 23 points. Smolinski was the catalyst in the set, pounding out six kills as the Pride cruised to a 25-15 win.
In the final set, the hosts turned a 9-8 deficit into a 12-9 lead thanks to a pair of kills and solo block by Holt. The Pride's three-point lead would eventually disappear on a Mei-Li Smith kill and the Pioneers regained an 18-17 cushion. An ensuring Smith service error and consecutive kills from Holt and Kerry Purcell (Massapequa, N.Y.) gave Springfield back a lead it would not relinquish en route to the 25-20 win. As a team, the Pride hit .368 in the final frame.
The Pride will play its third conference match this week on Saturday when it travels to play Emerson. First serve is slated for 12:00 pm.