Springfield, Mass. - September 27, 2011 - Kim Giaquinto notched 14 kills at a .440 clip to lead the Springfield College women's volleyball team to a three-game sweep over MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play in Blake Arena on Tuesday evening. The Pride took the match by the scores of 25-18, 28-26, 25-23.
The Pride jumped up four spots in the AVCA national rankings this afternoon to improve to 21st in the nation.
Springfield stands at 16-0, 4-0 in league play, while the Engineers are 13-4, 2-2.
Giaquinto led the Pride with a season-best 14 kills to go along with two aces and two blocks. First-year Melissa McLaughlin had the best match of her young career as she totaled nine kills. Tessa Smolinski chipped in seven kills and a team-best 15 digs, while Mary Consol posted six blocks. Whitney Miller dished out 23 assists as she played the final two games at setter.
For the Engineers, both Cecily Joujon-Roche and Tatiana Berger tallied nine kills in the loss. Kelly Schulte posted seven kills, while Katie Spielbauer recorded a team-best 12 digs. Nicole Gagnier handed out 25 assists and picked up 11 digs on the evening.
In the opening set, Springfield was able to weather an early MIT push and regrouped after finding themselves down 9-4 after an attack error. The Pride responded with a 12-1 run, capped off by a crafty kill by McLaughlin to force MIT into a timeout with the score 16-10. Springfield's lead grew to as much as seven and led by six kills from Smolinski, the Pride won the opener 25-18.
The Pride struggled out of the gate to start the second set as it trailed 9-3 after a big kill from Kristine Bunker forced Springfield head coach Moira Long into first to of the game. Springfield eventually battled back to even the set at 19 after a big block from Smolinski and Consol, only to have MIT reel off four straight points to take a commanding 23-19 lead. The Pride would not be denied as it stormed back to even the set at 24 as Gianquinto pounded out three of her four kills in the set. The Pride fought off two more set points and a Meaghan Hart ace ended the frame, 28-26, in favor of the hosts.
Trailing 13-11 in the third, Giaquinto once again stepped up for the Pride, this time leading a 6-0 charge capped off by consecutive aces to give Springfield a 17-13 advantage. MIT would claw back to even things at 19, only to have Springfield pour on a three-point burst off a kill from Smolinski and a pair of blocks powered by Consol. Joujon-Roche connected on a kill to make it 24-23 in favor of Springfield before Giaquinto slammed home a cross court kill to complete the sweep.
The Pride are off this weekend and will next play on October 4 when it travels to take on local-foe Smith in conference play. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 pm.