SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Facing its first nationally ranked opponent this season, the MIT women's volleyball team fell to No. 21 Springfield College, 25-18, 28-26, 25-23, in a hard-fought NEWMAC contest on Tuesday night. The loss lowered the Engineers' record to 13-4 on the year and 2-2 in league play while the Pride improved to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the NEWMAC.
Sophomore Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) led MIT's attack with 10 kills to go along with eight digs. Senior Cecily Joujon-Roche (Laguna Hills, Calif.) posted nine kills and a .500 hitting percentage while fellow classmate Kelly Schulte (Riverside, Calif.) tallied seven kills, five digs, three blocks, and two aces. Freshman Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) compiled 25 assists, 12 digs, and four kills as junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) paced the defense with 14 digs. Sophomore Jess Fessler (Shortsville, N.Y.) and senior Natasha Jensen (Columbia, Md.) added seven and six digs, respectively, while sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) contributed a pair of blocks.
The Engineers established a 9-4 lead in the opening set, but Springfield responded with a 12-1 run to go ahead for good. MIT stayed within striking distance, narrowing the gap to four on three occasions, the last at 20-16. However, the Pride scored four of the next six points to take the game.
In the second stanza, the Cardinal and Gray built a 9-3 advantage and held a comfortable margin for most of the set. Springfield evened the frame at 19, but MIT went on a 5-2 spurt resulting in set point. Back-to-back kills from Kim Giaquinto extended the game and propelled the Pride to the 28-26 victory.
The final set was tightly played as it featured 12 ties and four lead changes. The Engineers held a 13-11 edge, their largest of the game, but Springfield registered six unanswered points to regain control. MIT battled back, knotting the score three times, the last at 19. The hosts countered with a 5-3 burst that gave them match point. A Joujon-Roche hit kept Tech alive; however the Pride converted on its next attempt to capture the win.
MIT will return to action on Friday, Sept. 30 in the first day of the two-day Johnson & Wales University Wildcat Fall Classic.