November 3, 2009

MIT Blanks Clark in NEWMAC Quarterfinal

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A balanced outing by the MIT women’s volleyball team helped power it to a 25-11, 25-16, 25-8 victory over Clark University in a quarterfinal match of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament. The top-seeded Engineers will host the remainder of the NEWMAC Tournament with semifinal action beginning on Friday, Nov. 6. MIT will face No. 4 U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the first semifinal match at 5:00 p.m., with No. 2 Wellesley College and No. 3 Springfield College facing off at 7:30 p.m. The showdown for the conference crown will start at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Alex May notched nine kills, seven digs and four blocks as Barden Cleeland tallied seven digs, five kills, four blocks, and four aces for MIT (26-7). Cecily Joujon-Roche posted five kills, four aces, and three blocks while Jenny Li registered nine kills. Alyssa Rothman compiled 18 assists, five digs, and two aces as Cathy Melnikow racked up nine assists, four aces, and four digs. Kelly Schulte contributed three kills and two blocks while Natasha Jensen added six digs.

Amira Tranchell paced the No. 8-seeded Cougars (8-17) with five kills. Emily Sullivan dished out eight assists as Emily Visone collected a match-high 15 digs.

The Engineers opened the match with 11 unanswered points, with Joujon-Roche recording all three of her aces during the run. Clark picked up four out of the next six points to make the score 13-4 in favor of the hosts. MIT rattled off five consecutive points and eventually held a 24-8 advantage. Miscues and a hit from Tranchell extended the frame, but the Cardinal and Gray clinched the next point on a strike by May.

In the second set, MIT established a 7-3 edge which was quickly erased courtesy of four consecutive points from Clark. The Engineers responded with a five-point spurt which prompted a timeout by the Cougars. Coming out of the break, the visitors tallied a quartet of points which brought them within one (12-11). MIT countered with a 13-5 run to close out the game.

Clark used a service error and a block by Nicole Sullivan and Tranchell to take a 3-2 lead, its first of the night, in the final frame. The scoring was back-and-forth until the Engineers mounted a 19-2 run that resulted in match point. Kristin McGinty momentarily extended the Cougars’ season by striking an overpass by the Engineers. Hopes of a late rally were thwarted when MIT’s Kate Kelly picked up a kill to seal the match.