Springfield, Mass. - August 31, 2012 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team swept Simmons College before dropping a five-set thriller to Clarkson in the opening night of the Springfield College Invitational on Friday. The Pride downed Simmons, 25-10, 25-12, 25-19, before falling to the Golden Knights 20-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 15-11.
Springfield, which was ranked 21st in the preseason AVCA National Coaches Poll, is now 1-1 on the season.
Picking up right where she left off last season, Tessa Smolinski was dominant from the outside against Simmons. The junior posted a match-high 17 kills on 26 errorless attempts for a hitting percentage of .654 to go along with a match-high 14 digs. Mary Consol added nine kills, while Whitney Miller ran the Pride's attack to a .420 hitting percentage as she racked up 38 assists. Sonya Mickiewicz came off the bench in the final two sets and posted nine digs and Lindsay Runge recorded four service aces.
For the visiting Sharks, Raeann Nesta totaled 10 kills at a .391 clip, while Rachel Dufault registered 18 assists and 10 digs. For the match, Simmons hit just .093.
In both of the first two sets, Springfield jumped out to a 10-3 lead and never looked back as it cruised to set victories. The Sharks battled in the third and evened things at 19 after Nesta's final kill of the match. Following, a sideout kill from Kelsey McKayhey, Springfield used four aces from Runge to propel the Pride to a 25-19 win.
Against Clarkson, Springfield had a balanced attack as five players recorded nine kills or more. Consol led the way with 12 kills, while Smolinski added 11 kills and 17 digs. Elise Brogan had 10 kills at a .476 clip to go along with five blocks, and Runge tallied a career-best 24 digs. Miller totaled 46 assists as Springfield hit .207.
Clarkson received a great effort from Aishvina Arasu, who hammered a match-high 20 kills. Lani Durio paced the Golden Knights with 51 assists and Erika Chin was credited with 24 digs. Victoria Kirkemo also had a strong overall showing, producing 14 digs and 11 kills.
After Springfield took a 2-1 set lead, the Golden Knights roared back in the fourth set to force a fifth a deciding game. In the fifth, after trailing 10-7, the Pride responded with a 4-1 run, capped off by a Smolinski kill off the block, to give the hosts an 11-10 advantage. Out of a timeout, Clarkson used back-to-back kills from Adrienne Walker to kick start a 5-0 run to close out the set for the victory.
Springfield College Invitational
Friday, August 31
Springfield 3, Simmons 0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-19)
Rivier 3, Westfield State 0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-14)
Clarkson 3, Springfield 2 (20-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-11)
ECSU 3, RIC 1 (25-16, 25-15, 22-25, 25-17)