NORTON, Mass. – With a 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 victory over Wheaton College on Tuesday night, the MIT women's volleyball team reached the 20-win mark for the 16th year in a row. The Engineers (20-7, 5-2 NEWMAC) have accomplished this feat every year during head coach Paul Dill's tenure while the program has registered double-digit win totals in 34 of 36 seasons.
MIT built a 6-2 lead in the first set, but Wheaton scored three of the next four points to come within two (7-5). The Engineers responded with a 10-4 run to take control of the game, however, the Lyons battled back and narrowed the gap to 19-14. A 6-2 spurt capped by an ace from junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) closed out the frame for the Cardinal and Gray.
The visitors raced out to a 7-2 advantage in the second stanza, but Wheaton slowly chipped away at the deficit and eventually evened the score at 12. After five ties and one lead change, a pair of aces from freshman Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) put MIT ahead for good at 19-17. Following a timeout by the Lyons, a pair of miscues gave the Engineers some breathing room however, two errors by MIT kept the hosts within striking distance. Tech bounced back by picking up four of the last five points to secure the win.
After the Engineers established a 5-2 edge in the final frame, the set became a back-and-forth affair as 10 ties and six lead changes ensued. An ace from junior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) put MIT in front, 19-18, while back-to-back kills by freshman Morgan Stewart (Powell, Ohio) increased its cushion. Wheaton won the next point, but the Engineers scored the final four as sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) sealed the match with an ace.