NEW LONDON, Conn. – In its final match of the regular season, the MIT women's volleyball team defeated the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 25-22, 25-14, 25-21, on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Engineers (21-10, 7-3 NEWMAC) are currently in the fourth spot of the league standings and are in position to host a quarterfinal match of the NEWMAC Championship Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Freshman Megan Gebhard (Howell, Mich.) led the way with 13 kills and added 11 digs for MIT. Seniors Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) and Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) both registered 11 kills and hitting percentages of .647 and .346, respectively. Junior Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) tallied 39 assists, five digs, and two aces while senior Emma Gargus (Columbus, Ohio) tacked on two aces. Freshman Tori Wuthrich (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) collected a match-high 16 digs as senior Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) bolstered the defense with five digs.
The Engineers built a 9-5 lead in the opening set, but the Bears stayed close as they narrowed the gap to 14-13. MIT registered the next four points and eventually went up, 23-16. After trading points, a hitting error gave the visitors set point; however, Coast Guard recorded the next four to make the score 24-22. Following a timeout by the Engineers, a strike by Berger ended the set.
MIT quickly established a 5-1 advantage in the second stanza, which the Bears trimmed to 6-3. The Cardinal and Gray gradually built a 17-7 advantage and maintained the comfortable margin as it claimed a 25-14 victory.
Holding a 5-4 edge in the final frame, Berger posted a trio of kills during a five-point spurt to give the Engineers some breathing room. MIT slowly created an 18-10 lead, but Coast Guard continued to attack and cut its deficit (22-19). Both sides exchanged points down the stretch as a kill from Gebhard clinched the match.