CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Host and top-seeded Springfield College defeated the MIT women's volleyball team, 25-23, 25-21, 25-13, in the semifinal round of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament. With the loss, the fourth-seeded Engineers closed their season with a record of 21-14.
Kelly Schulte tallied eight kills, two aces, and two blocks as Trinity Leonard posted seven kills and six digs. Kristine Bunker chipped in four kills and four blocks while Cecily Joujon-Roche totaled three kills, three aces, and three blocks. Jenny Li bolstered the front row with five kills and three blocks as Katie Spielbauer led the defense with 13 digs. Natasha Jensen added 10 digs while Sharon Hao registered 27 assists and nine digs.
The Pride jumped all over the Engineers to start the match as it opened up a quick 6-0 lead after Kim Giaquinto hammered a ball down the line. MIT put forth a steady comeback as it eventually grabbed a 14-13 lead after a Pride attack error. The hosts eventually regained the lead and snagged a 24-20 advantage, only to have MIT score three straight points, capped off by a double block from Schulte and Joujon-Roche, to make it a one-point game at 24-23. Springfield looked to Tessa Smolinski and the first-year pounded home a kill to give SC a 25-23 win.
Springfield squandered another big lead in the second as its 20-12 lead nearly disappeared after an 8-2 run, highlighted by a block by Li and Bunker. Leading 22-20, Springfield benefited from an MIT attack error, and used a Heather Lively kill and Sarah Lang-Rodean solo block to take a two-set lead.
In the third, Springfield held a slight 9-7 lead after a Hao service ace, which forced the Pride into a timeout. A Giaquinto kill out of the break set the tone, as Springfield finished the match on a 16-6 run, with Giaquinto smashing a kill on match point to put the Pride in the conference championship match.
Release Courtesy of Springfield College