Middlebury 3, NYU-Polytechnic 0
In the first match of the day, the third-seeded Middlebury College women's volleyball team cruised to a three-game sweep over sixth-seeded NYU-Polytechnic in a quarterfinal match of the 2010 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Springfield, Mass. Regional Championship.
The Panthers notched their first-ever NCAA Tournament win by virtue of a 25-12, 25-15, 25-13 sweep of the Blue Jays. Middlebury (25-5) advances to a second-round match-up on Saturday, where they will take on the winner of the UMass-Boston/Maine Maritime match at 3:30 pm.
Middlebury was led by freshman Megan Jarchow (Cos Cob, Conn.) with nine kills and a .300 hitting percentage. She also had four digs and one block solo. Sophomore Julia Gibbs (Houston, Tex.) was right behind Jarchow with eight kills and a .353 hitting percentage. She also had a match-high five service aces and three blocks.
"I thought Julia had a very nice match overall," said Middlebury head coach Sarah Raunecker. "She was very sharp in many phases. It was a good team win. Defensively, we did fine. Our goal right now is to remain as sharp as we can be."
"Elissa (Goeke) also had good match," said Raunecker. "She was very consistent." In two games, Goeke, a junior from Chevy Chase, Md., had six kills with only one error in 12 swings. Her hitting percentage was .417.
NYU-Polytechnic finished its season with an overall mark of 20-20.
Said Head Coach Marc Solondz, "The first thing I want to mention is that it was good to be here (in the NCAA's) again. But I have to admit that I do not think we played as well as we could have. Credit goes to Middlebury, however. They are a very good team. We can't play such a good and capable team like we did today, play like we did, and expect to win.
"We have a big class coming in next season," said Solondz. "I certainly hope to be back in the NCAA's once again."
As a team, Middlebury hit .231, while NYU-Polytechnic hit .031.
Senior setter Lauren Barrett (Medfield, Mass.) finished with 30 set assists for the Panthers. Sophomore Caitlin Barrett (Medfield, Mass.) finished with a match-high 15 digs.
The scores of each of the sets was 2-2 at one point. But in each case, Middlebury scored the fifth point, and never trailed from thereon. In the third game, Middlebury hit .458, committing only one error.
For NYU-Polyechnic, senior Meredith Shipman (Sugarland, Tex.) had seven kills. Junior Victoria Kalvert (Missouri City, Tex.) also had seven kills.
UMass Boston 3, Maine Maritime 0
In the second match of the day, #2-seeded UMass-Boston defeated #7-seeded Maine Maritime Academy, 3 games to none, in the 2010 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Springfield, Mass. Regional Championship. Game scores were 25-13, 25-11, 25-14.
It was the second straight contest that went according to form as #3-seeded Middlebury College had earlier defeated #6-seeded NYU-Polytechnic by the same 3-0 score. Those game scores were 25-12, 25-15, 25-13.
UMass-Boston is now 28-4, while Maine Maritime ends at 18-10. UMass-Boston next plays Middlebury Saturday at 3:30 pm.
"I thought we played well," said UMass-Boston Head Coach Terry Condon, "especially when you consider it was our opening match. You are always looking to get those jitters out as early as possible, and we managed to get through it."
"Our two freshmen are two to talk about," said Condon. "One hit .545, the other .364. I was especially pleased with their play."
Condon was referring to outside hitter Amber Clemons (Simi Valley, Calif.) who had seven kills and only one error in 11 swings (.545). She also had a service ace and three blocks. Condon was also referring to outside hitter Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who had a match-high-tying 11 kills with only three errors in 22 attempts (.364). She also had three service aces, seven digs, and three blocks.
Also with good numbers was sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) with 11 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Casey Hanneman, a junior from Denver, Colo., and Frana Burtness-Adams, a sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, shared the setting duties. Hanneman had 19 assists, Burtness-Adams 17. Bethany Rossoll, a sophomore libero from Colorado Springs, Colo., led her squad with 14 digs. Thompson added 12.
On the other side of the ledger, Maine Maritime head coach Katrina Dagan admitted her team "had a rough day." Said Dagan, "We just didn't play as well as we had in the last few weeks. But credit UMass-Boston. They are a very good team. We were just constantly on the defensive today."
Dagan found some solace to mention. "We have all our starters returning in 2011. We need to somehow channel what we learned today in a positive manner to make us better." Junior outside hitter Chelsea Ward (Homer, Alaska) led the Mariners with seven kills. Junior Lauren Sakahara (Bellevue, Wash.) was Maine Maritime's best with nine digs.
Amherst 3, Lesley 0
In the third match of the day, top-seeded Amherst College defeated #8-seeded Lesley University, 3 games to none, in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Springfield, Mass. Regional. Game scores were 25-9, 25-10, 25-13.
With the win, Amherst is now 25-3, while Lesley finishes at 20-10. Amherst will next play Saturday at 6 pm against the winner of tonight's final match between #4-seeded Tufts and #5-seeded Springfield.
Junior outside hitter Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, Calif.) led her Amherst squad with 13 kills and no errors in 18 swings for a spectacular .722 hitting percentage.
As a team, the Lord Jeffs hit .439, while limiting the Lesley Lynx to a minus .023 percentage.
Others who played extremely well for Amherst included senior middle hitter Laura Hyman (Glencoe, Ill.) (7 kills, .700 hitting percentage), and junior outside hitter Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) (7 kills, .462 hitting percentage).
For Lesley, sophomore middle hitter Amanda McCracken (Eldersburg, Md.) had an excellent performance. The New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Year finished with 11 kills and just two errors in 19 swings for a .484 hitting percentage. Freshman defensive specialist Caitlyn Vandenburgh (Swansea, Mass.) compiled a match-high 13 digs.
Lesley head coach TJ Haijar was very realistic in his assessment of the match. "It was an eye-opener for us, no doubt," he said. "But we would rate it a bulding block type of match for our program. It was a big deal for our players.
"We played three sophomores and three freshmen, and lose only two seniors. I didn't think we got too flustered. Amherst was just that good. I hope we'll be back."
Amherst was never really in any serious trouble in this match. In the first game, the Lord Jeffs led by scores of 4-0, 13-2, and 22-8 before winning 25-9. In the second game, Lesley kept pace until it was 5-5. Amherst then scored 20 of the last 25 points to win that game, 25-10. In the third game, Lesley again got off to a good start, leading 8-7. But again, the Lord Jeffs ended the match by winning 18 of the last 23 points.
Springfield 3, Tufts 0
In the fourth match of the day, certainly the most anticipated match of the day, it was the host team, #5-seeded Springfield College defeating #4-seeded Tufts, 3 games to 0 in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Springfield, Mass. Regional. Game scores were 25-14, 25-19, 25-20.
With the win, Springfield is now 30-4 overall, while the Jumbos end their season at 22-11.
Saturday's semifinals are thus set for Blake Arena. In match #1, it will be #2-seeded UMass-Boston vs. #3-seeded Middlebury College at 3:30 pm. In match #2, it will be #1-seeded Amherst vs. #5-seeded Springfield at 6 pm.
Tonight's match allowed Springfield to attain a 30-win season, its 10th overall in the history of the women's volleyball program at Springfield.
"Our track record against Tufts is one where we seem to learn a lot," said Springfield Head Coach Joel Dearing. "I hope that remains true. We had a lot of time to recover from the NEWMAC Tournament (where SC lost in the finals to Coast Guard). But we were very focused tonight.
"From Day One of pre-season practice, our goal has been to win Regionals," said Dearing. "We are one step closer.
"Our game plan tonight was to highlight the middles, and both Lauren (Torvi) and Sarah (Lang-Rodean) were terrific. I thought our attack was well-balanced. And I thought we played very good defense."
Lang-Rodean, a senior from Mansfield Center, Conn. who was named the NEWMAC Player of the Year earlier this week, finished with a team-high 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Torvi, a junior from North Smithfield, R.I., ended with 10 kills and a .364 hitting percentage.
Kelsea Hellyar, a senior setter from Fairhaven, Mass., had 30 assists and 11 digs. Tessa Smolinski, a freshman outside hitter from Hebron, Conn., also had 11digs.
For Tufts, certainly the bright light was Caitlin Updike, a senior outside hitter from Manhattan Beach, Calif., who finished with a match-high 14 kills. Junior Cara Spieler (Santa Barbara, Calif.) had a match-high 17 digs, followed by junior libero Audrey Kuan (Los Altos, Calif.) with 16.
Springfield hit .206 as a team. The key stat of the match, however, may have been SC's limiting Tufts to a .000 hitting percentage.
In game #1, SC jumped out to big leads, 7-3 and 15-5. A kill by senior Heather Lively (Royalston, Mass.) finished off the Jumbos in that one. In the second game, it was 17-all, but SC scored eight of the last 10 points. In game #3, Tufts had a 13-11 edge. But at 14-all, the Pride scored five straight points, and that ultimately proved to be the difference.