Oct. 28, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Wellesley College topped MIT, 25-20, 26-24, 24-26, 25-18, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball match on Tuesday night. The Blue, currently ranked No. 3 in New England, improved to 23-6 on the year and 7-1 in conference play while the Engineers dropped to 19-15 overall and 6-2 in the NEWMAC. The last time MIT suffered a home loss during regular season conference action was on October 21, 2006 against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in five sets.
The early stages of the opening set were a back-and-forth affair as it featured eight ties and five lead changes. A strike by Cecily Joujon-Roche put MIT up, 9-8, but a kill from Alice Kate Cummings knotted the frame and sparked a four-point spurt for Wellesley. The Engineers narrowed the gap to three on three occasions, the last at 18-15. The Blue countered with a 6-2 run as a block by Amanda Duritsch and Jessica Duff resulted in set point. A service error extended the frame while MIT registered the next two points to make the score 24-20. Following its own timeout, Wellesley ended the late rally with kill from Cummings.
The Engineers tallied five unanswered points to start the second stanza and maintained their small cushion for most of the frame. A service error put MIT at set point with a four-point advantage (24-20). Cummings responded with a key hit that ignited a run which produced five straight points with Heather Mellquist at the service line and gave Wellesley the second set decision.
Trailing 4-2 in the third set, MIT rattled off nine consecutive points behind Alex May's tough serve. The Blue regained the lead courtesy of a 13-2 run (17-13) which featured eight points generated by Cummings' attacking efforts. The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, eventually tying the set at 20. Each side traded points before Wellesley notched three straight to set up the potential match point. A tip by Joujon-Roche coupled with a pair of hitting miscues evened the frame at 24. May's kill gave MIT the slight edge as it captured the next point to force an extra session.
The Blue quickly established a 7-3 margin in the final frame, but the Cardinal and Gray posted the next five points to go ahead. Following three ties and a pair of lead changes, a block by Joujon-Roche gave MIT a two-point cushion (12-10). Wellesley responded with seven unanswered points to take the lead for good. The Engineers narrowed the gap to two (17-15), but that was as close as it would get as the Blue posted eight of the final 11 points, sealing the match on an ace by Madeleine Brumley.
May tallied 14 digs, eight kills, three blocks and one ace for MIT. Barden Cleeland totaled eight kills and four blocks as Joujon-Roche and Jenny Li each added seven kills. Lindsay Hunting collected 15 digs and one ace while Katrina Ellison bolstered the defense with 13 digs. Cathy Melnikow dished out 26 assists in the loss.
Cummings and Duff both registered double-doubles for the Blue. Cummings notched 20 kills and 20 digs as Duff contributed 15 digs, 12 kills, and three blocks. Victoria Peng racked up 38 assists and three aces while Samantha Du recorded three blocks. Emily Peters finished with 20 digs as Brumley earned three aces.
Both teams will conclude conference play on the road on Saturday, Nov. 1. MIT will make the trip out to Mount Holyoke College while Wellesley will travel to Smith College.