Engineers Top Wheaton in Three

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT women’s volleyball team remained unblemished in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action following a 25-18, 25-10, 25-20 victory over Wheaton College on Tuesday night. With the win, the Engineers improved to 17-4 on the year and 5-0 in conference play while the Lyons dipped to 10-9 overall and 1-4 in the NEWMAC.

MIT quickly established a 4-1 edge in the opening frame, but Wheaton stayed within striking distance and eventually evened the contest at 11. Following their own timeout, the Engineers mounted an 11-5 run to create some breathing room. A back-row hit from Miranda Howitt coupled with an ace by Kristen Hunt brought the Lyons within four (22-18). A tip by Jenny Li and back-to-back aces from Anna Dikina sealed the first set for the Cardinal and Gray.

In the second stanza, the Engineers raced out to a 7-3 advantage. Wheaton responded with a 5-1 spurt that knotted the set at eight. MIT countered with a 17-2 run to close out the game as Dikina served the final 13 points.

MIT continued to cruise in the final frame, building a 6-2 edge with Dikina serving the opening four points. The Lyons slowly chipped away at the deficit, narrowing the gap to one (13-12) on strikes by Lauren Kraus and Becca Rose in addition to a miscue by the Engineers. Coming out of its own timeout, MIT picked up the next three points, which prompted a timeout by Wheaton. Following the break, the Lyons scored four straight points as an ace by Emily Davisson evened the game at 16. Each side exchanged points before the Engineers registered five unanswered points to create a small cushion. Both squads alternated scoring until a blast by Kelly Schulte secured the win for MIT.

Alex May paced the Engineers with 11 kills as Schulte totaled seven kills and two aces. Jenny Li chipped in six kills while Barden Cleeland led the way with three blocks. Dikina compiled nine digs and six aces as Alyssa Rothman notched 30 assists and eight digs. Katie Spielbauer rounded out the defense with seven digs.

Howitt tallied 11 kills and six digs while Kraus contributed five kills, needing only one more kill to reach the 1,000-career kill mark. Rose racked up 16 assists and six digs as Davisson recorded 12 digs and three aces. Hunt collected eight digs while Lauren McGrath registered a block.

MIT continues its home stand on Thursday, Oct. 8 when it takes on Rivier College. Wheaton returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Beacon Invitational hosted by UMass Boston.