Springfield, Mass. - November 1, 2008 - For the first time since 2003, the Springfield College women’s volleyball team captured the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season crown by virtue of a three-game sweep of Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon.
The Pride swept the match by the scores of 25-19, 25-19, 25-15 as it won its 14th-straight match to improve to 28-4, 9-0 in league play. The Bears drop to 13-15, 5-4.
With the win, the Pride clinch the top-seed in the upcoming conference tournament and will have home-court advantage throughout.
The opening game was back and forth until a Nicole Gurr kill brought the visitors within one at 14-13. However, Springfield rattled off a 9-4 run, capped off by a Heather Lively kill, to grab a seven-point advantage at 23-17. A kill from Bethany Stosz out of the middle gave Springfield the 25-19 game-one victory. Lively was unstoppable in the opening stanza, registering eight kills at a .312 clip.
Lively set the tone early in the second game as she bounced an overpass on the opening point, as Springfield opened up a 4-0 lead. The Bears continued to battle as a Courtney Wolf kill made it a 20-18 game. Heidi Yohe sealed the game for Springfield as she picked up four points from behind the service line, including a key ace to make it 23-18.
In the final game, Springfield raced out to a quick 8-1 lead after a Coast Guard attack error. Coast Guard brought it within three at 14-11 after a Mary Bitzer service ace, but the Pride was too much down the stretch. The match came to a fitting close as Jess Baldwin, who was one of four seniors honored before the game, served an ace as the Pride won 25-15.
Lively paced the Pride attack with a match-high 18 kills, hitting an impressive .378, in the match. Stosz added six kills and four blocks, while Kim Giaquinto notched five kills. Yohe continued her impressive play as she recorded a match-high 17 digs to go along with three aces. Baldwin added four aces and six digs in the win. Kelsea Hellyar directed the Pride attack with 33 assists.
For Coast Guard, Gurr registered a team-best 11 kills, eight digs, and three blocks in the loss. Carin Sweeney added 10 digs, while Ashley Bullard handed out 14 assists.
Springfield awaits to see who they will take on Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm in the NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinals.