Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Academy Sports
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Senior Barden Cleeland posted 15 kills, a .406 hitting percentage, and eight blocks while classmate Alex May totaled 12 kills and 13 digs to help power MIT to a 14-25, 25-21, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13 victory over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday. In the battle of New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) unbeatens, the Engineers (12-4, 4-0 NEWMAC) ended the Bears’ home winning streak at 25 and handed them their first loss of the season.
MIT has proven to be the spoilers for Coast Guard (11-1, 3-1 NEWMAC) at home over the past few seasons. The Bears’ previous winning streak began after they were swept by the Engineers on October 9, 2007. That victory snapped Coast Guard’s 16-match NEWMAC regular season home winning streak which started following a 3-1 loss to MIT on October 21, 2003.
Coast Guard quickly established an 8-2 lead in the opening game, but MIT narrowed the gap to three (9-6). The Bears responded by scoring seven out of the next nine points to regain control and cruise to the win.
Facing a 13-12 deficit in the second stanza, the Engineers tallied four straight points to go ahead for good and eventually take a 25-21 decision.
The Cardinal and Gray raced out to a 10-2 advantage in the third set. Coast Guard slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually evening the contest at 19. Each side picked up a point before MIT recorded three in a row and held on for a 25-22 victory.
The fourth game was a back-and-forth affair which saw both teams exchange points 19 straight times and create an 18-18 deadlock. Coast Guard rattled off a 7-1 run to close out the set and force the decisive fifth frame.
The Engineers held a 7-5 edge, but the Bears responded with a four-point spurt to take the lead. Following ties at 11, 12, and 13, MIT registered back-to-back points to wrap up the win.
Jenny Li added 12 kills and two digs as Katrina Ellison tallied nine kills, eight digs, and two blocks. Kelly Schulte recorded an efficient hitting performance, notching seven kills on 10-errorless swings. Katie Spielbauer collected 12 digs as Alyssa Rothman finished with 50 assists and eight digs.
Freshman Lauren Bloch compiled a match-high 19 kills to go with eight digs while classmate Keriann Mason amassed 15 kills, 15 digs and four blocks. Freshman Karen Matic dished out 54 assists as junior Jessica Anderson added 15 digs in the loss.