SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) and junior Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) both generated nine kills to lead a balanced attack as the MIT women's volleyball team fell to Springfield College, 25-22, 24-26, 25-13, 25-21, on Tuesday night. With the loss, the Engineers' ledger dipped to 10-2 on the year and 2-1 in NEWMAC play.
Leonard added seven digs to MIT's cause while freshman Ada Taylor (Durham, N.C.) posted eight kills and a .353 hitting performance. Freshman Meryl Gibbs (Bellaire, Texas) notched seven kills and an ace as junior Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) tacked on six kills and two blocks. Senior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) generated a career-high 32 digs to go along with two aces, followed by 11 digs from freshman Lindsey Wang (Cupertino, Calif.) and seven by junior Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.). Senior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) tallied 24 assists and four digs while sophomore Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) dished out 11 assists of her own.
The opening set was a back-and-forth affair as Wang's kill produced the ninth tie of the frame and evened the score at 15. MIT rattled off the next five points to go up, 20-15; however, after a Springfield timeout the hosts replied with their own five-point spurt. Strikes by Leonard and Bunker kept the Engineers in front, but the Pride recorded three straight points which forced the visitors to use a timeout. After the break, back-to-back hitting errors gave Springfield the win at 25-22.
In the second stanza, the Pride inched out to a 10-5 lead. The Cardinal and Gray stayed close, narrowing the gap to one on six occasions, the last at 24-23 courtesy of a Taylor kill. Strong serving by Wang coupled with strikes by Gibbs, Leonard, and Taylor propelled MIT to the victory.
Springfield jumped out to an 8-1 advantage in the third set, but the Engineers continued to attack as they trimmed their deficit to 13-9. This was as close as it would get as the Pride maintained their comfortable cushion en route to a 25-13 win.
The early stages of the fourth set were closely played until Springfield built a 17-10 advantage. MIT battled back, capitalizing on two miscues to narrow the gap to 20-18. The Pride picked up three of the next four points to gain some breathing room at 23-19; however, back-to-back kills by Taylor reestablished the two-point margin. Springfield thwarted the Engineers' attempt at a late rally by scoring the next two points to close out the match.
MIT returns to non-conference play this weekend as it competes in the MIT Invitational which will be hosted by Brandeis University. The Engineers will square off with Bates College and Roger Williams University on Friday, Sept. 21 and will then take on the Judges and Tufts University the next day.