Oct. 3, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - This past weekend, MIT competed in the Tufts University Invitational, placing fourth as it finished with a record of 2-2. The Engineers opened play on Friday by defeating Bridgewater State College, 30-20, 30-24, 22-30, 30-14. In its next match, Tech fell to nationally-ranked No. 23 Eastern University, 31-33, 30-21, 31-33, 30-28, 16-14. Against the host Jumbos, MIT dropped another five-game match (30-28, 30-28, 15-30, 21-30, 15-8) before upending No. 22 SUNY Cortland, 28-30, 30-19, 32-30, 30-15. Arlis Reynolds represented MIT on the All-Tournament Team for the second week in a row.
After taking the first two sets comfortably from Bridgewater State, MIT lost steam in the third frame as it allowed the Bears to pick up a win. Caroline Jordan directed Tech's drive to restore order in the fourth game with two kills, three blocks, six digs, and a 10-point serving run to end the match. Frances Rogoz paced the Engineers (17-5) with 14 kills and four aces as Jordan and Briana Stephenson also reached double figures in kills, with 13 and 11, respectively. Reynolds led Tech's defense with 20 digs while Austin Zimmerman and Lindsay Hunting each added 15. Zimmerman dished out 43 assists as Hunting posted four aces.
MIT and undefeated Eastern met for the first time since the semifinals of the 2003 MIT Invitational in which the Eagles emerged with a 3-1 victory. The battle was intense right from the beginning, with Jordan scoring six times, Reynolds picking up six digs, and Rogoz blasting three aces. The Engineers pushed to a 25-19 lead before Eastern went on a nine-point run. Not willing to let the game slip away, Reynolds and Carrie Buchanan each put together short serving runs to tie the contest (30-30) before Rogoz finished off the game with a 33-31 win.
Tech carried the momentum into the second game as it jumped out to a 7-3. A timeout by the Eagles allowed them to reorganize and swing the game in their favor (12-9) before cruising to a 30-21 victory. Game three was another see-saw battle, as neither team could generate more than a three-point run. MIT's defense went into overdrive, with Reynolds picking up nine digs and Buchanan recorded eight. Rogoz led the offense with six kills as the Engineers struggled to finish the long ralllies but came away with another 33-31 win.
MIT opened up a lead of 16-9 due to consecutive four-point runs by Buchanan and Reynolds. The Engineers still held a 26-21 margin before Eastern surged ahead to a 28-26 lead and forced a fifth game with a 30-28 win. Reynolds had 12 of her match-high 37 digs in the game while Rose Zhong was MIT's most efficient offensive performer with four kills on nine attempts. The Engineers, 0-3 on the season in fifth sets, fared no better against Eastern. The Eagles, who overcame a 13-11 deficit, set up its first match point with an ace before claiming the match one rotation later at 16-14.
Tech began Saturday's action against Tufts in the only regular season meeting for both squads. The Jumbos claimed the first two games by 30-28 margins, with the Engineers playing solid back-row defense and passing extremely well on serve receive but were unable to generate momentum offensively or challenge the Tufts outside hitters on the block. MIT settled down and capitalized on the Jumbos' defensive lapses to take a 30-15 victory behind Rogoz's five kills and Zhong's four. Rogoz also added two service aces and continued to drive MIT's offense in the fourth game with six kills on 11 attempts. Jordan scored five times on eight swings and picked up eight digs in the back row while Reynolds dug 16 balls as the Engineers forced another fifth game with a 30-21 win. Tufts built leads of 6-2 and 9-4 in the final stanza before posting a 15-8 win. Reynolds finished the match with 38 digs, tying for the MIT record of digs in a five-game match. Stephenson totaled 10 kills on 29 attempts without an error for a team-high .345 hitting performance. Jordan led the Engineers with four aces without an error on 26 serves and 23 digs in the backcourt. Zimmerman handed out 52 assists as four different players finished in double figures in kills.
MIT struggled in its opening game against SUNY Cortland, dropping a 30-28 decision despite four kills from Zhong and three aces from Rogoz. Jordan's serving provided an energetic boost for the Engineers as she posted two aces during a seven-point run. As a result, Zhong contributed four more kills, Reynolds collected eight of her match-high 25 digs, and Alexandra Huston-Carico notched her best performance of the weekend (four kills on four attempts) to take the 30-19 win. The Red Dragons recovered in game three by forcing some variety into their offensive schemes, but MIT responded with aggressive blocking and defense to win 32-30. Tech dominated the fourth game (30-15) behind three blocks and five kills without an error from Rogoz and two blocks from Jordan. Zhong posted three more kills, finishing with a total of 16 and only two errors for a .378 hitting performance.