October 26, 2005

Engineers Sweep Smith To Stay Perfect in NEWMAC Play

Oct. 26, 2005

Stats

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Arlis Reynolds added to her collection of record-breaking performances while leading the MIT women's volleyball team to a 30-19, 30-13, 30-19 victory over Smith College on Tuesday. Reynolds, whose 29 digs helped the Engineers (26-7, 8-0 NEWMAC) hold the Pioneers to a team hitting performance of .014, eclipsed an 11 year-old mark for digs in a three-game match.

For the second time this season, Tech rebounded from a weekend upset to defeat a conference opponent, having swept Wellesley College after a 3-2 loss at the Ithaca College Tournament in September. Held to a team hitting percentage of .029 in Saturday's contest, MIT looked in danger of repeating that season-low performance in the opening frame after Smith took a 3-0 lead on a pair of hitting errors.

Despite building a 4-3 margin on Lindsay Hunting's serve, the Engineers were unable to generate any momentum. The Pioneers took advantage of the situation as they maintained a three-point cushion for several rotations. With a series of deep float serves, Caroline Jordan disrupted Smith's offense and knotted the score at 17. Austin Zimmerman continued the service line attack with a seven-point run, as Rose Zhong and Briana Stephenson combined to convert four free ball opportunities into points to open up a 25-18 lead. The Pioneers mustered only one more point as Reynolds closed out the game with a five-point service run. Tech scored 22 times through kills after having found the floor only 35 times in Saturday's entire match.

Jordan's service rotation proved to be a turning point in the second game as well, as her three-point run created a 7-4 lead as a result of kills from Stephenson and Zhong. MIT held its own against the conference's leading defensive side by out-digging Smith by a significant margin, extending its lead with several successful long rallies. Later on, Jordan extended the Engineers advantage from seven to 15 points during which the Pioneers attempted to adjust their serve receive formation. Reynolds ended the second game with an ace, with the 30-13 margin marking Smith's most lopsided defeat of the season.

The Engineers continued to dominate in the final frame, with Reynolds collecting 12 digs and Frances Rogoz blasting six of her match-high 13 kills without an error. Reynolds turned a 7-7 tie into an 11-7 advantage during her first trip to the service line on a service ace and a clever kill from Zimmerman. After Smith libero Megumi Sasaki's errant touch on a Rogoz blast looked to be a sure kill, NEWMAC dig leader Kate Sorensen pursued the ball beyond mid-court, evading the second official and nearly colliding with MIT head coach Paul Dill to return the ball to its side of the net. On the ensuing free ball, Zimmerman recognized the disarray in the Pioneers' defense and sent a first-touch set deep into the Smith backcourt within inches of the end-line.

Tech extended its lead to 18-13 before Reynolds' second trip to the service line put the contest out of reach, as her match-high fourth ace gave the Engineers a 24-13 margin en route to a 30-19 victory. Zimmerman finished the match with 36 assists as MIT hit .248 as a team. Jordan and Stephenson each tallied 11 kills, with Jordan needing only 26 swings to record her match-high .385 performance.

This Saturday, the Engineers will host the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in their regular season finale at 1:00 p.m. For the second consecutive year, the regular season championship will be decided between these squads with the winner hosting next week's NEWMAC Championship Tournament.