CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With a 25-20, 25-22,
22-25, 25-22 decision, the MIT women’s volleyball team topped
previously undefeated Springfield College in a New England
Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest
on Tuesday night. Senior Alex May recorded a match-high 19 kills
for the Engineers (9-2, 3-0 NEWMAC) to become the eighth player in
the program’s history to surpass the 1,000-kill mark.
In the opening frame, MIT established an 8-4 lead which was quickly erased by five straight point by the Pride (9-1, 1-1 NEWMAC). Each side exchanged points until a service error and a pair of aces by Cathy Melnikow put the Cardinal and Gray ahead, 13-11. Springfield responded with a 7-2 spurt that was punctuated by a block from Sarah Lang-Rodean and Kim Giaquinto. The Engineers rallied, capturing 10 out of the last 12 points to close out the set. May was a factor in the final four points as she collaborated with Barden Cleeland for a block before earning three straight kills.
With the second stanza knotted at six, Springfield slowly created a 16-8 advantage which was keyed by several hits from Heather Lively. MIT battled back as it mounted a 17-6 run to claim the second set. Jenny Li gave the Engineers their first lead at 20-19 before striking the game-winning hit.
The Pride raced out to a 5-1 lead in the third set, but MIT chipped away and eventually evened the frame at nine. Each side picked up four points until a hitting error shifted the momentum to Springfield as it inched out to a 21-17 advantage. A kill by Lauren Torvi gave the Pride set point, however a kill by May coupled with a Springfield hitting error brought the Engineers within two (24-22). Hopes of maintaining the late rally were thwarted due to a miscue by MIT.
In the final frame Springfield jumped out to a 6-1 advantage and went on to hold a 12-7 lead. The Engineers responded with a 9-2 spurt but a pair of miscues put the Pride up, 17-16. MIT bounced back by scoring five of the next six points for a slim 21-18 edge. Both sides exchanged points to close out the contest.
Cleeland posted 11 kills and four blocks as Li added 11 kills and three blocks. Cecily Joujon-Roche notched three blocks while May finished with nine digs and three blocks. Anna Dikina compiled 14 digs as Katie Spielbauer chipped in 11 of her own. Melnikow totaled nine digs and three aces while Alyssa Rothman dished out 42 assists.
Lively paced the Pride with 13 kills as Lang-Roden bolstered the attack with nine digs. Meaghan Hart paced the defense with a match-high 15 digs while Kelsea Hellyar led the way with four aces.
Both squads will return to action at the MIT Invitational slated for Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26.