Springfield, Mass. - September 18, 2012 - Tessa Smolinski produced a match-high 18 kills to lead a balanced Springfield College attack in the Pride's four-set victory over visiting MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball action on Tuesday night in Blake Arena.
Springfield won by the set scores of 25-22, 24-26, 25-13, 25-21. The Pride improve to 8-3, 2-1 in league play, while the Engineers dropped a match for just the second time this year, falling to 10-2, 2-1.
Smolinski was one of five Springfield players with at least seven kills as she totaled 18 kills and 12 digs in the victory. Kerry Purcell had the finest match in her young college career, totaling 11 kills at a .348 clip to go along with 12 digs. Daniella Crismani notched 10 kills and a team-best 23 digs and middle Mary Consol posted nine kills and four blocks. Whitney Miller directed the Pride's offense to a .256 hitting percentage with 41 assists, nine digs, and three blocks.
For the visiting Engineers, five players had at least six kills, with Kristine Bunker's nine-kill performance leading the charge. Ada Taylor tallied eight kills out of the middle and Trinity Leonard chipped in eight kills and seven digs. Katie Spielbauer was remarkable on the defensive side of the ball, turning up a match-high 32 digs. Alyssa Rothman came off the bench to deliver 24 assists in the loss. MIT entered the match with the top hitting percentage in the league, but was limited to just a .123 hitting clip on the night.
The opening set was back-and-forth, with 11 ties and five lead changes, the most of any set on the evening. Springfield found itself trailing 20-15, only to pour on a five-point spurt after back-to-back Elise Brogan kills evened the game at 20. MIT would extend its lead to 22-20, only to have Purcell tally consecutive kills and Crismani hammer a ball down the line to give Springfield the lead for good. Two MIT hitting errors gave the Pride a 25-22 victory.
A Purcell kill late in the second set gave Springfield a 23-20 lead as it appeared destined to take a 2-0 lead. However, the visitors would not go away and staved off set point with a Taylor kill. With Lindsey Wang at the service line, the Engineers scored the final three points of the set, the last coming off a swing by Taylor to even the match at a set apiece.
Springfield roared out of the gates in the third, thanks to some great serving by Lindsay Runge, as it took a quick 8-1 lead. A Tatiana Berger solo block got MIT within four at 13-9, but Springfield responded with a 6-0 run, capped off by a solo block and kill from Consol to seize control. The visitors hit -.171 in the game, allowing Springfield to cruise to a 25-13 win.
The Pride carried the momentum into the fourth and had its best hitting game, totaling 15 kills at a .333 clip. A fast start again allowed the Pride to take a 7-3 lead after an Amy Entel ace. Despite leading by as much as seven in the frame, Springfield found itself in a two-point game at 20-18. Smolinski and Purcell provided back-to-back kills giving Springfield the cushion it would need and a MIT attack error completed Springfield's four-set win.
The Pride will now prepare for a weekend against some of the top competition in the region. Competing in the MIT Invitational, the Pride will battle Bowdoin and Endicott on Friday before taking on Tufts and Bates on Saturday.