No. 18 Women’s Volleyball Outlasts Tufts in Five-Set Thriller to Advance to NCAA Regional Final

Courtesy of Paul Rutherford
Courtesy of Paul Rutherford
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THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 18 MIT 3, Tufts University 2 (25-23, 13-25, 26-28, 30-28, 15-10)

- Records: MIT (30-2); Tufts (23-7)

- Location: Providence, R.I. (Wildcat Center)

- The Lead: The nationally-ranked No. 18 MIT women's volleyball team battled Tufts University for a 25-23, 13-25, 26-28, 30-28, 15-10 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Engineers secured a spot in the regional final for the second time in three years.

- Interview with head coach Paul Dill and seniors Alli Davanzo, Clare Farley, and Lisette Tellez

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT quickly built an 8-3 lead in the opening set which later moved to 12-8. Tufts picked up the next four points but a kill by senior Alli Davanzo (Saint Johns, Fla.) along with a block by juniors Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) and Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) gave the Engineers a small cushion at 14-12. The Jumbos won four of the next five points to go ahead before six ties and three lead changes ensued, moving the score to 21-21. Back-to-back Bertics kills created some breathing room; however, a serving error set off an exchange of points until another Bertics kill gave MIT a 25-23 win.

- Tufts raced out to a 10-2 advantage and never looked back as it cruised to a 25-13 second-set victory.

- The third set was a back-and-forth affair as there were 18 ties and six lead changes. Trailing 22-20, the Engineers put together a 4-1 spurt with a kill from Bertics resulting in set point. The Jumbos produced a kill and a block to go ahead, 25-24, but an exchange of serving errors tied the score at 26. Tufts replied with back-to-back kills to take the set at 28-26.

- MIT jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set and maintained a small cushion until the Jumbos generated an 8-4 run which gave it match point at 24-22. Kills by Bertics and Staub kept the Engineers alive, however, Tufts went back in front, 25-24, following a kill. Both squads took one-point leads as a blocking error gave the Jumbos a 28-27 edge. MIT rattled off the final three points as kills by Davanzo sandwiched a strike by Bertics to force a fifth set.

- The Engineers crept out to a 7-4 lead in the final frame but Tufts capitalized on a serving error, block, and a kill to even the score. A serving miscue gave MIT an 8-7 edge at the changeover and then senior Lisette Tellez (Miami, Fla.) and Davanzo generated a block. The Jumbos countered with a block of their own to cut the deficit in half but the Engineers responded with a 5-1 run to secure the 15-10 victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Bertics racked up a match-high 31 kills to go along with a .400 hitting performance, 10 digs, and five blocks. Davanzo totaled 16 kills, a .324 hitting effort, and five blocks while Staub finished with six blocks. Junior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) collected 16 digs, followed by 14 from Tellez and 13 by sophomore Madison Lee (Hillsborough, Calif.). Senior Clare Farley (La Jolla, Calif.) earned four aces as freshman Andie Maloney (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) amassed 63 assists and 10 digs.

- Bertics' 31 kills were two shy of tying the Institute record for kills in a match.

- MIT recorded its second 30-win season in two years.

- This was just the second postseason meeting between MIT and Tufts. The Engineers and Jumbos last met in the second match of the 1993 ECAC Tournament.

UP NEXT:

- MIT will face either No. 8 host Johnson & Wales University or Wesleyan University in the regional final of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2:00 p.m.

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