New London, Conn. - November 9, 2012 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team swept Roger Williams in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday afternoon at Connecticut College. Springfield prevailed by the scores of 28-26, 25-22, 25-21.
Springfield, which is now 27-7, advances to the regional semifinal where it will take on Bowdoin on Saturday at 3:30 pm. The Pride and Polar Bears played once earlier this season, with Springfield prevailing in four sets at the MIT Invitational.
Tessa Smolinski led the Pride with a match-best 13 kills to go along with 14 digs, while Daniella Crismani chipped in 10 kills and 10 digs. Whitney Miller directed Springfield's attack with 34 assists to go along with nine digs, and Mary Consol produced six kills and four blocks. Clare Henry registered four of Springfield's 10 aces in the contest.
Roger Williams was paced by Kelsey Twarog, who notched 10 kills and 12 digs. Andrea Gorman added 10 kills at a .400 clip, and Kelsee Loche registered a team-best 13 digs. Nicole Weber finished the afternoon with 32 assists and nine digs as the Hawks hit .222 for the match.
Both teams had their top offensive showings in the first, with the Hawks hitting .366 and Springfield owning a .350 hitting percentage. Springfield used a Smolinski ace to take an early 9-4 lead, and extended the score to 16-11 following a Hawk service error. RWU responded with a 7-3 run to even things at 18, only to have Crismani answer with a big swing in the middle. The Hawks scored the next three points and owned a 21-19 lead following a Weber kill. Springfield battled back to even the set at 23 after another Smolinski kill, and would fight off three set points before consecutive kills from Crismani and Consol put the Pride up 27-26. An attack error on the ensuing play gave Springfield the first set, 28-26.
Springfield struggled to find its offensive rhythm to start the second and found itself training 8-4 early on. The Hawks didn't let up, and continued pour on the pressure, earning a 17-12 lead following another Pride attack error. Head coach Moira Long went to her bench and subbed in Melissa McLaughlin and Kelsey McGayhey, and the duo sparked a key turnaround. McGayhey connected for a pair of kills and added a block with Consol as the Pride's 5-0 run tied the set at 17. The teams would remain square at 21-all before a Smolinski kill and Lindsay Runge ace gave Springfield the lead for good. Miller closed out the set with a kill of her own as Springfield took the second, 25-22.
The third set featured 12 ties until the Pride finally used consecutive aces from Henry to open an 18-16 lead. The Hawks fought back with a 3-1 push to knot the game at 19 as Weber pounded her final kill of the night. However, Springfield would be not denied as closed out the set on a 6-2 run, with McGayhey and Smolinski hammering kills to cap off the three-game sweep.