Wellesley, Mass. - November 3, 2012 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team's bid to repeat as conference champions fell short as MIT advanced to the NEWMAC title match with a 3-1 semifinal victory over the Pride on Saturday at Wellesley College.
The win lifts the #2-seeded Engineers to 29-5 on the season. Springfield, seeded #2, ends its run for the conference title at 26-7. MIT will face #1 seed Wellesley College in the NEWMAC championship match on Sunday at 1pm.
In a hard-fought match, MIT’s powerful middle attack proved to be the difference as Kristine Bunker and Ada Taylor combined for 28 kills while hitting at a .367 clip. The Engineers also stymied Springfield’s attack with eight blocks and 85 digs, while holding the Pride to a .129 hitting percentage in the 3-1 win.
Tessa Smolinski and Daniella Crismani both notched double-doubles for the Pride as Smolinski tallied 12 kills and 24 digs while Crismani had 10 kills and 17 digs. Mary Consol added 11 kills and four blocks, while Whitney Miller distributed 33 assists in the loss.
For the Engineers, Bunker hammered 16 kills to go along with three blocks and one ace. Ada Taylor finished with 12 kills and five blocks, while Tatiana Berger added eleven kills and one block. Five MIT players finished with double-figure digs, led by Katie Spielbauer with 28. Trinity Leonard added eight digs and Lindsey Wang and Alyssa Rothman chipped in 13. Rothman also dished out 53 assists in the match.
Springfield seized control of the first set, taking an early 10-3 lead benefitting from six MIT errors. MIT climbed back in it, but the Pride held on to their advantage until hot serving from MIT’s Sharon Hao, led the Engineers to seven straight points and a 22-20 lead. Springfield battled back to tie it at 22-all on an ace from Smolinski, but couldn’t put it away. The teams then traded sideouts until MIT grabbed a 28-27 edge on a Pride serving error, and then won the set 29-27 on an attack error.
Set two was just as close, with neither team leading by more than three points through the early going. MIT went up 8-5 on a Bunker kill, but Springfield battled back to take a 13-11 lead on an MIT attack error. Neither team was able to produce a long serving run late in the match, but MIT finally took control with the score knotted at 20-20. With Lindsey Wang on the line, the Engineers closed out the match with kills from Rothman and Taylor, taking the set, 25-21.
Springfield opened another early lead in set three, using a long run from Miller and three kills from Kerry Purcell to open up a 10-4 advantage. MIT got as close as two points at 17-15, but a service error killed the rally. Leading 21-18, the Pride closed out the match with Smolinski on the line, sealing a 25-18 victory with two straight kills from Purcell.
In the fourth and final set, MIT grabbed the momentum after back-and-forth play early on. With the match tied 7-7, the Engineers got a five-point run with Spielbauer on the line, opening up a lead and never looking back. Springfield would get as close as four points, but MIT closed out the set with tight serving from Miller. A Bunker kill gave the Engineers the final point in a 25-21 win, sealing a berth to the finals for MIT.