Tonight's match pitted two of the top teams in New England as the Pride entered ranked fourth, while the Ephs were second in the first NCAA Regional Rankings released yesterday. Springfield improves to 20-5, with the win, while Williams falls to 19-3.
The Pride got off to a great start to begin the opening set, snagging a 13-9 lead. However, Williams stormed back by scoring nine-straight points to take control of the frame. Despite a late rally, the Pride fell by the score of 25-21.
Springfield had an equally strong start with a 14-8 advantage. Williams got within 19-15 following an ace to force the Pride into a timeout, but Springfield benefited from a kill and block by Kelsey McGayhey down the stretch for the 25-19 second-set win.
McGayhey connected for another kill off the Eph block midway through the third as the Pride inched out to a 12-8 lead, only to have the Ephs answer with a 6-0 burst to take a lead it would not relinquish. Williams would eventually hold on for a 25-21 third set win.
The Pride surged ahead 13-10 in the fourth after back-to-back solo stuffs by Amanda Palladino. However, as they had all game, Williams answered with a huge run, this time an 8-2 burst as the Pride burned its second timeout of the game trailing by three. Faced with a 19-17 defict, the Pride used a Lindsay Runge ace, a Lauren Holt solo block, and a great cut shot by Tessa Smolinski to regain 22-21 lead. Williams fought off three set points by the Pride before Springfield finally clinched the fourth set, 30-28.
Springfield took an 8-7 lead the switch in the fifth and seemingly seemed in control after a Whitney Miller ace, coupled with two thunderous swings by McGayhey, put the Pride ahead 12-7. The Ephs made one last push, getting with 12-11, before Holt finally sided out with a swing out of the middle. The Pride then sealed the win thanks to consecutive Williams errors en route to the 15-11 final score.
McGayhey had a dominant showing on the right side, producing 16 kills and three blocks, while Smolinski posted 10 kills. Both Holt and Daniella Crismani added seven kills and Amy Entel shined on the defensive end with 27 digs.
Miller and Marnae Mawdsley combined for 44 assists running the offense, and Palladino totaled a team-best six blocks.
Springfield will continue play in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Tournament on Saturday when it takes on Middlebury and Trinity.