CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball match, MIT registered a 25-7, 25-10, 25-19 victory over Wheaton College on Tuesday night. The Engineers improved to 17-10 overall and 5-2 in league play while the Lyons saw their ledger fall to 8-16 on the year and 2-5 in the NEWMAC.
MIT quickly established a 5-1 lead in the opening frame, but an exchange of points followed with Wheaton trimming its deficit to 7-4 on a strike by Rachel Vergara. The Engineers responded by mounting an 18-3 run to capture the set. During that stretch Katie Spielbauer registered four consecutive aces on seven serving attempts.
Each side traded points to start the second stanza until MIT scored six in a row to go up 9-3 and force a timeout by the Lyons. Following the break Wheaton won two of the next three points, narrowing its gap to four (10-6). This was as close as it would get as the Engineers outscored the visitors, 15-4, to close out the frame.
Wheaton's Olanna Nissim opened the third set with back-to-back aces. The Cardinal and Gray countered with five straight points which were matched by the Lyons after they called a timeout. Kills by Tatiana Berger, Emma Gargus, and Jess Fessler gave MIT an 8-7 edge. Wheaton capitalized on miscues by the hosts to go ahead, 10-8. The Engineers recorded a 7-1 run to take the lead for good. Strikes by Jackie Jones and Nissim along with an ace from Kaitlyn Stokes brought the Lyons within one (15-14).
MIT used another 7-1 spurt to gain some breathing room, however an ace and kill from Nissim and a block by Jones and Lindsay Tebbetts kept Wheaton within striking distance (22-18). Hits from Rachel Hunt and Fessler resulted in match point but a strike by Jones extended the set. Fessler's strike clinched the match on the Engineers' next attempt.
Trinity Leonard paced MIT's attack with 11 kills as Kristine Bunker posted five blocks, three kills, and two aces. Fessler finished with five kills while Kelly Schulte notched four kills and four blocks. Berger, Rachel Hunt, and Gargus each chipped in three kills as Berger added two aces. Spielbauer totaled 14 digs and four aces while Natasha Jensen contributed five digs. Sharon Hao tallied 17 assists and two aces as Alyssa Rothman dished out 14 assists.
Jones led Wheaton with nine kills and a block while Nissim compiled five assists, three aces, and two kills. Kristine Hunt just fell short of recording a double-double as she had 10 digs and eight assists. Vergara rounded out the Lyons' attack with three kills.
Both squads will return to non-conference competition this weekend at the Hall of Fame Tournament hosted by Mount Holyoke College and Smith College.