CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Although Smith College won its first set against MIT since a 2005 sweep, the Engineers bounced back by taking the next three en route to a 21-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-12 decision in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball match on Tuesday night. MIT saw its record improve to 14-9 on the year and 4-2 in conference play while the Pioneers dipped to 1-14 overall and 0-6 in the NEWMAC.
An error and a block by Smith's Sonia Brown and Rebecca Gordon evened the opening set at eight. The Engineers established a comfortable margin courtesy of a 7-3 run. Rosa Drummond and Laurel Belton combined for five kills in a 5-1 spurt by the Pioneers that tied the frame at 16. Both squads traded points until Smith capitalized on a pair of errors and two kills by Drummond to capture the set.
The visitors carried the momentum into the second stanza as they quickly created a 7-3 advantage. MIT responded by posting eight of the next nine points, but the Pioneers continued to attack and knotted the frame at 14. Sparked by a kill and strong serving from Jenny Li which featured a pair of aces, the Engineers mounted a 9-2 run to gain some breathing room. Smith narrowed the gap to 24-19 on a trio of errors, but Cecily Joujon-Roche's kill thwarted any attempt at a late rally.
In the third set, MIT jumped out to a 7-3 lead which the Pioneers quickly trimmed to one (7-6). This was as close as it would get as the Engineers went on an 18-6 run to close out the game.
Smith stayed within striking distance for most of the final set, converting a pair of miscues to come within three (13-10). MIT responded by scoring 12 of the last 14 points to secure the victory.
Joujon-Roche powered the Engineers' offense with 14 kills on 19-errorless attempts for a .737 hitting percentage. Trinity Leonard racked up 13 kills and 10 digs while Kelly Schulte tallied nine kills, four blocks, and two aces. Kristine Bunker bolstered the front row with seven kills, a .667 hitting percentage, and four blocks as Li finished with eight kills and two aces. Sharon Hao totaled 42 assists and 15 digs while Katie Spielbauer collected 14 digs and three aces. Natasha Jensen posted six digs and two aces as Jess Fessler rounded out the back row with seven digs.
Belton paced the Pioneers with 15 kills to go along with 12 digs and a block. Drummond notched 11 kills and two blocks as Courtney Faria dished out 32 assists. Bethany Ashworth amassed 24 digs while Hayley Bezubka contributed 11 digs.
Both squads will return to non-conference competition this weekend. MIT will host its own Quad Tournament while Smith will do battle at the Plymouth State University Quad Tournament.