CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a hard-fought match, Western Connecticut State University emerged with a 25-14, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, victory over host MIT in a non-conference women's volleyball tilt on Tuesday night. The Colonials remained perfect on the season as they improved to 6-0 while also posting their first win against the Engineers in five meetings. MIT saw its ledger dip to 2-2 in the young season.
The early stages of the opening set were closely played as a pair of hits by Jenny Li sandwiched a Western Connecticut service error and kept the Engineers within one (7-6). The Colonials mounted an 11-3 run to break open the game, but MIT scored four straight points to narrow the gap to 18-13. Western Connecticut responded by registering seven of the final eight points of the set to capture the win.
In the second stanza, the Colonials quickly established a 10-4 advantage. The Engineers slowly chipped away at the deficit and then went ahead, 14-13, on an ace by Cecily Joujon-Roche. Western Connecticut capitalized on miscues by the Cardinal and Gray, eventually reclaiming the lead at 20-19. A strike by Kelly Schulte knotted the set, but both sides exchanged points to maintain the tie. The Colonials went on to post four straight points to secure the victory.
Despite the setback, MIT carried the momentum into the third frame as it created a 7-2 margin. Western Connecticut countered with a 7-1 run to take a one-point edge (9-8). One lead change and four ties followed until the Engineers rattled off six consecutive points to claim a 19-13 advantage. The Colonials were able to narrow the gap to four on four occasions, the last at 23-19 on a strike by Natalie Crosby. A service error resulted in set point while a block by Schulte and Kristine Bunker forced an extra set.
MIT held an 11-7 lead in the final game, but Western Connecticut battled back and went up, 17-16. Four ties and two lead changes ensued before a hit by Li knotted the score at 21. Three consecutive miscues gave the Colonials match point and then Paxton Thornton's hit off the Engineers' block sealed the victory.
Schulte paced MIT with 10 kills and four blocks as Li and Joujon-Roche both finished with five kills and three aces. Bunker registered four blocks while Tatiana Berger earned two aces. Sharon Hao totaled 25 assists and six kills as Alyssa Rothman dished out four assists. Katie Spielbauer rounded out the Engineers with 19 digs and four assists.
Thorton led Western Connecticut with nine kills, followed by eight from Danielle Spangler. Sammie Hathaway dished out 30 assists while Kelley Collins racked up 25 digs.
Both squads will continue non-conference play this weekend. MIT will compete in the Endicott College Invitational while Eastern Connecticut will participate in the Western New England College Invitational.