Oct. 30, 2006
Charles Morton, Assistant Coach
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Cathy Melnikow sent a blast from the back row deep into the Westfield State College backcourt on match point to give the MIT women's Volleyball team its 30th victory in its regular season finale on Saturday at Mount Holyoke College. The win marked the second time in head coach Paul Dill's career and seventh time in the program's history that the Engineers have reached this mark.
Under Dill's direction, MIT met this plateau in 2002 with a 34-5 ledger. Dave Castanon led the Cardinal and Gray to its first 30-win season in 1981 (31-8) and then did the same the following year (34-5). In 1983, Karyn Altman took over the reigns of the program and continued the trend for two more seasons with records of 41-2 and 36-5. The Engineers posted a 32-8 mark in 1988, making Altman the only coach to surpass the 30-win total three times at the Institute.
MIT (30-4, 7-2 NEWMAC) fought off a scrappy Owls (14-15) squad to earn victories in the first two sets by margins of 31-29 and 30-28 behind 11 of Alex May's match-high 14 kills. Tech registered 20 kills in the final frame to earn a comfortable 30-22 win, capping off a 3-0 week that included straight-set victories over NEWMAC foes Mount Holyoke and Babson College.
Katie Rowe was the Engineers' most efficient weapon in the match, dropping 12 kills on 17 attempts with just two errors for an 0.588 performance. Defensively, setter Amanda Morris led the squad with 19 digs, followed by libero Carrie Buchanan with 14. Ellen Sojka was Tech's most dangerous server, scoring four aces on just eight attempts through a sequence of short and deep floaters that kept the Owls' receivers off-balance. Morris distributed 41 assists to nine different Engineer hitters while adding three kills of her own.
In earlier Saturday action, the Engineers defeated the host Lyons, 30-19, 30-10, 30-15, to clinch the No. 2 seed in the NEWMAC Tournament. Frances Rogoz led all attackers with an error-free 17-for-32 (0.531) performance, and May was again among Morris' favorite targets, smashing 16 kills of her own. Rowe and Sojka added seven kills apiece to balance Tech's fast-paced transition offense. May and Buchanan anchored the backline, picking up 15 and 14 digs, respectively. Morris again contributed 41 assists and three kills to the attack.
On Tuesday, MIT will host No. 7 seed Mount Holyoke in a NEWMAC Quarterfinal match starting at 7:00 p.m.