CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a NEWMAC women's volleyball match on Tuesday night, host MIT defeated Babson College, 25-18, 25-19, 25-13. With the win, the Engineers improved to 17-5 on the year and 3-2 in the league while the Beavers dipped to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the NEWMAC.
Sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) racked up nine blocks to go along with five kills for MIT. Senior Kelly Schulte (Riverside, Calif.) posted seven kills and five blocks while fellow classmate Cecily Joujon-Roche (Laguna Hills, Calif.) added seven kills and three blocks. Sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) bolstered the attack with five kills as freshman Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) tallied 26 assists and three blocks. Junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) paced the defense with 13 digs while sophomore Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) contributed five digs. Senior Natasha Jensen (Columbia, Md.) earned three aces as sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) registered four digs and two aces.
Meg Flaherty led Babson with seven kills followed by six from Ashley Strangio. Karla Flores amassed 30 digs while Kathleen Lynch dished out 20 assists.
The Beavers went up, 3-2, in the opening set but a pair of kills from Schulte in addition to a block with Bunker put the Engineers ahead for good. Babson stayed within striking distance for most of the frame as two Flaherty kills and a block by Strangio narrowed the gap to one (14-13). MIT responded with a block by Bunker, a kill from Hunt, and collaboration from both on a block which resulted in a timeout by the Beavers. After the break, both sides exchanged points until the Cardinal and Gray generated a 6-1 run for set point. A serving error and block by Lynch and Sara Wojda kept the visitors alive at 24-18; however, a strike from Gagnier ended the game.
In the second stanza, MIT quickly created a 5-1 lead which Babson gradually trimmed to 9-7 on a tip from Christina Cervini. The Engineers countered with an 8-1 run that was followed by a 7-3 spurt from the Beavers. The hosts rattled off four consecutive points for a 24-15 advantage. Babson replied with four of its own, capitalizing on a pair of miscues, a Cervini ace, and a block by Lynch and Cathy Tinker. MIT ended the Beavers' late rally on the ensuing serve when Berger's kill off the Beavers' block sailed out of bounds.
A serving error and three kills by Flaherty put Babson in front, 4-2, in the final frame. The Engineers responded by scoring nine of the next 10 points to secure the lead. Following a timeout by the visitors, an exchange of serves helped bring the Beavers within five (13-8). This was as close as it would get as MIT finished out the match with an 11-4 run, clinching the win on freshman Morgan Stewart's (Powell, Ohio) first swing of the night.
MIT returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 11 when it travels to NEWMAC foe Smith College while Babson continues its road trip on Saturday, Oct. 8 with a tri-match featuring host Western New England University and UMass Dartmouth.