Springfield, Mass. - September 5, 2009 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team rallied to claim the Springfield College Invitational as it triumphed past Brandeis, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon. Winning by the game scores of 25-22, 20-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-10 as Heather Lively was named Invitational MVP and Meaghan Hart earned All-Tournament honors.
In its first match of the day, the Pride defeated visiting Roger Williams in four games as it received a superb defensive effort from Hart, who amassed a career-best 26 digs. SC took the match by the scores of 25-21, 25-19, 15-25, 25-13.
With the two wins, the Pride improve to 4-0 on the early season.
Against Roger Williams, All-American Heather Lively finished with a match-high 16 kills to go along with eight digs, while Kim Giaquinto chipped in with 10 kills, seven digs, and three blocks. Lauren Torvi provided Springfield with a consistent attack as she connected for seven kills on just 10 swings and Cassie Seymour added seven kills, six digs, and a pair of aces. Kelsea Hellyar directed the Pride with 41 assists and added seven digs and three aces in the victory. Springfield also used nine kills from Sarah Lang-Rodean in the match to compliment its offense.
Three players for the Hawks registered double-digit kills with Rebekah Dion leading the way with 12 kills. Both Kristina Dolan and Marybeth Torpey recorded 10 kills, while Kelsee Loche finished with a team-best 13 digs as RWU's libero. Emily Lebowitz handed out 39 assists to go along with 11 digs as well for the visitors.
In the opening frame, Springfield gained a slight edge to own a 21-18 lead after an initial back-and-forth start to the contest. After the teams traded kills, SC took advantage of a Hellyar ace and Torvi kill to take the first game, 25-21.
The second game was a near mirror image of the first as the teams were knotted at 12 after a Roger Williams kill from Brittney Sullivan. However, Springfield went on a 5-1 spurt fueled by a kills from Giaquinto and Seymour to force a Hawks timeout. A Dion service ace brought the visitors within two at 21-19, but back-to-back kills from Giaquinto and Torvi down the stretch gave Springfield a two-game lead.
Roger Williams dominated the third stanza, hitting an impressive .424 for the game and connecting on 17 kills. The Pride struggled to find its rhythm on the offensive end and was limited to just a .167 hitting percentage. Springfield went on to trail by as many as eight, 21-13, as it dropped its first game of the 2009 season.
The hosts came out on fire in the fourth frame, jumping out to a 6-1 lead as Lively hammered home a trio of kills. Springfield never looked back as it went on to win by 12 , totaling 18 kills in the frame while hitting an incredible .441. Lively was unstoppable in the fourth, posting seven kills on 10 errorless-swings.
In what would prove to be the championship match, the Pride won the first game but then dropped the next two stanzas, putting themselves behind the eight ball. However, the resilient Pride used some impressive defense and timely kills to rally en route to the championship.
Lang-Rodean tallied a team-best 16 kills and five blocks against Brandeis, while Torvi posted 13 kills while hitting .480. Lively, who earned MVP honors, finished with 13 kills and eight digs, while Giaquinto continued to stuff the stat sheet with 17 digs, six kills, and five aces. Hart continued to impress on defense, finishing with 22 digs and Hellyar recorded 42 assists and 10 digs.
Brandeis was paced by Paige Blasco, who was the only member of the Judges' to record double-digit kills with her 19-kill performance. Nicole Smith chipped in with nine kills and six blocks, while Abby Blasco registered a double-double with 40 assists and 15 digs.
The Pride owned a 17-11 lead in the first game after a double block from Lang-Rodean and Hellyar, and appeared ready to cruise to victory. The Judges stormed back, making it a 23-22 game after an Abby Blasco kill. Back-to-back errors from the visitors however proved to be costly as the Pride were able to take the 25-22 win.
It was a much different story in the second game as the Pride fell behind early, 16-9, and had trouble getting into a rhythm. Brandeis, which hit .414 in the frame, limited the Pride's attack is it knotted up the contest.
The Pride couldn't get the situation squared away in the third as it hit -.121 and trailed by as many as eight. Paige Blasco paced the way with four kills and Brandeis took advantage of 11 Springfield attack errors to get within one game of victory.
However, a different Springfield team came out in the fourth as it fought back after trailing early. Down 12-8, the Pride went on a 5-0 run fueled by a pair of Giaquinto aces to take a 13-12 lead. The game featured 14 ties and six lead changes, but a Hart ace eventually gave Springfield a 25-23 win and evened the match at two games apiece.
In the final game, Springfield dominated from the first whistle, taking a 7-3 lead after a Torvi kill. Seemingly in control throughout, the Pride's lead was cut to two after Abby Blasco slammed home a kill to make it 12-10 in favor of SC. Torvi connected on another kill and then back-to-back errors by Paige Blasco, including the final point which came on a double block from Torvi and Giaquinto, gave Springfield the Invitational crown.
Springfield Invitational - Day 2
Springfield 3, Roger Williams 1 - 25-21, 25-19, 15-25, 25-13
Brandeis 3, Lasell 0 - 25-11, 25-10, 25-10
Brandeis 3, Westfield State 0 - 25-21, 25-23, 25-14
Roger Williams 3, Lasell 0 - 25-13, 25-22, 25-18
Westfield State 3, Lasell 1 - 25-12, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22
Springfield 3, Brandeis 2 - 25-22, 20-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-10
Springfield Invitational All-Tournament Team
Alex Shaw - Westfield State
Kirstina Dolan - Roger Williams
Danielle Drapeau - Lasell
Abby Blasco - Brandeis
Paige Blasco - Brandeis
Meaghan Hart - Springfield
Heather Lively - Springfield (MVP)