NORTHAMPTON, Mass., October 21, 2006 - Springfield College senior middle blocker MaryKathryn O'Neil (Liverpool, N.Y.) earned All-Tournament Team honors at the 2006 Volleyball Hall of Fame Invitational this weekend as the Pride finished in fifth place out of 16 competing teams, compiling a 3-1 weekend record.
In the opening night of the tournament, on Friday, October 20th, SC hosted Bates College, Tufts University, and Bridgewater State College for two matches each. The Pride knocked off Bates, 3-0 (30-15, 30-27, 30-16) in its first match, but then fell to the Jumbos of Tufts in five games (30-24, 30-26, 20-30, 23-30, 6-15).
That put SC in the fifth-place pool on Saturday (Oct. 21) against Middlebury College, Brandeis Univeristy, and Wellesley College in matches held at Smith College. In the Pride's first match, on Saturday morning, SC defeated Middlebury by a 3-1 margin (30-23, 20-30, 30-25, 32-30). With the victory over Middlebury College, the Pride then faced Brandeis University in the fifth-place match. It was SC winning by yet another 3-1 score (30-25, 25-30, 30-24, 30-28) to grab fifth-place team honors.
In the match against Middlebury, senior libero Leah Hettrick (Meriden, Conn.) compiled a season-best 42 digs to help lift the Pride. It was the first time this season that the tri-captain accumulated at least 40 digs in a match. O'Neil paced SC in attacking, as she racked up 22 kills on 41 swings with just five errors for a .415 hitting percentage, and sophomore setter Caitlin Mulroy (Syracuse, N.Y.) led the Pride with an even 50 assists.
In the fifth-place match against Brandeis Univerisity, O'Neil added another 22 kills, this time on 35 swings with just two errors for a .571 hitting percentage. For the weekend, the tri-captain compiled team-highs of 80 kills and 14 blocks to earn an All-Tournament Team nod. O'Neil averaged 5.0 kills per game in four SC matches over the past two days.
Sophomore outside hitter Aylene Ilkson (Baldwin, N.Y.) led the Pride in defense with 18 digs in the victory over the Brandeis Judges, as senior outside hitter Nicole Curtin (Beacon, N.Y.) contributed with 12 kills and eight digs.
SC next returns to New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action when its hosts the WPI Engineers on 'Senior Night' in the Pride's Blake Arena on Tuesday evening, October 24th, beginning at 7:00 p.m.