Springfield, Mass. - October 30, 2010 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team hit .549 as it powered past Wheaton College to clinch the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title on Saturday afternoon.
Springfield, which had last won the NEWMAC regular season title in 2008, now stands at 28-3 and finished with a perfect 9-0 record in league play. The loss drops Wheaton to 10-20, 2-7.
The victory secures the top seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament for the Pride as it will have a bye for the quarterfinals before hosting championship weekend on November 6-7.
Springfield's offense had its most efficient showing of the season as it hit .549, connecting for 44 kills on 71 swings. Sonya Mickiewicz had another standout performance as she delivered 37 assists for the Pride. Heather Lively posted a team-best 10 kills at a .643 clip, while classmate Sarah Lang-Rodean recorded nine kills on 17 errorless swings. Both Tessa Smolinski and Lauren Torvi added eight kills for the hosts.
Wheaton was led by Jackie Jones, who registered a match-high 12 kills. The Lyon offense was held in check as it hit .071 for the match and tallied 21 total kills. Kristen Hunt handed out 21 assists, while Emily Davisson was credited with a match-high eight digs.
The first set proved to be the closest of the contest as Springfield found themselves leading by two at 15-13 after a Wheaton kill by Christina Cannon. The Pride responded with back-to-back kills from Lively and Smolinski to gain a four-point cushion. The Pride's lead never dropped fewer than three points the rest of the set as it closed out the stanza on a 4-1 spurt to take the first game 25-18.
The Pride poured on the offensive pressure from the start of the second as it opened up an 8-2 lead after a Smolinski ace. Springfield hit .684 for the frame with Lang-Rodean producing four kills and Smolinski, Giaquinto, and Torvi all adding three kills apiece.
Wheaton hung tough at the start of the third as it trailed 5-3 after an early Springfield service error. However, Springfield went on to score seven of the game's next nine points, capped off by a Lively kill which forced a Wheaton timeout. Meaghan Hart blistered an ace out of the timeout as Springfield went on to cruise to a 25-11 win. Lively had five kills on just five swings in the game, while Jones highlighted the Wheaton attack with four kills in the set.
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