CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 23, 2006 - Springfield College senior libero Leah Hettrick (Meriden, Conn.) recorded a team-best 23 digs and was named to the All-Tournament Team as the Pride defeated Wellesley College, 3-2, in the fifth-place match at this afternoon's MIT Invitational.
SC opened the 2006 MIT Invitational with a 3-0 sweep over Connecticut College (30-21, 30-17, 30-22) and a 3-1 loss to Vassar College (30-23, 19-30, 20-30, 25-30) on Friday night, September 22nd, in the opening rounds of the tournament. With the loss to Vassar, the Pride then found itself in the "Gold Bracket" for Saturday's action.
SC defeated Smith College on Saturday morning by the same 3-1 (30-15, 24-30, 30-26, 30-23) margin that the Pride had defeated the Pioneers by earlier this week in Springfield, Mass (Sept. 19). After the win over Smith, SC was matched up against Wellesley College in the fifth-place match. Despite falling down by a 5-1 score early in the fifth and final game, the Pride rallied for the 3-2 victory over the Blue (30-24, 24-30, 27-30, 30-21, 15-11).
A huge milestone was reached today in Cambridge, Mass., for SC Head Coach Joel Dearing. Coach Dearing picked up his 600th career win this afternoon in the Pride's 3-1 win over Smith. Now in his 25th season as a collegiate women's volleyball coach, Dearing's record currently stands at 601-277 overall, good for a .685 career winning percentage.
Senior middle blocker MaryKathryn O'Neil (Liverpool, N.Y.) totaled a team-high 16 kills in the win over Wellesley, as sophomore setter Caitlin Mulroy (Syracuse, N.Y.) contributed with a season-best 20 digs.
In the win earlier today over Smith College, O'Neil and senior middle blocker Rachael Witte (Utica, N.Y.) totaled 26 kills, with 14 and 12, respectively, to pace SC. Hettrick registered an impressive 35 digs as junior outside hitter Kara Ramos (Milford, Conn.) racked up a career-best 25 digs.
The Pride improves to 13-2 overall on the season with the 3-1 record this weekend. SC will return to Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday night, September 26th, for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest against MIT at 7:00 p.m.