Nov. 2, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Nationally-ranked No. 25 and top-seed MIT defeated No. 4 U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 30-24, 30-28, 33-31, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament semifinal match on Friday. The Engineers (34-1) will host No. 2 Wellesley College in the title match on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 4:00 p.m.
With the opening game tied at seven, a tip by Barden Cleeland sparked a 6-1 run that gave MIT the lead for good. The Bears (20-6) were able to close the gap to one on two occasions, the last occurring at 18-17. The Engineers gradually established a six-point advantage (26-20), but Coast Guard quickly cut its deficit in half. MIT captured three out of the next four points with a spike by Amanda Morris to seal the game.
Corrine McCormack's strong jump-serve helped turn a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 advantage for Coast Guard in the second stanza. The Bears' lead eventually grew to six (16-10) and they maintained a slim cushion for most of the frame. MIT continued to attack and evened the contest at 24. Coast Guard captured the next point however the Engineers won the next two to regain the lead. The Bears once again tied the game, but it would be the last time as back-to-back points put MIT ahead, 28-26. Each side traded points to close out the frame.
In the final game, Coast Guard slowly crept out to three-point advantage which it maintained for as late as 22-19. A service error led to a five-point run that featured an ace by Morris and two blocks and a kill from Cleeland. Undeterred, the Bears countered with three straight points that evened the contest at 25. Both squads exchanged points before Coast Guard went ahead, 28-27. Following their own timeout, the Engineers posted the equalizer on a strike by Katrina Ellison. The Bears picked up match point, but back-to-back blocks gave MIT a 30-29 lead. After trading points, a kill by Jenny Li put the Engineers up for good as they closed out the match on their ensuing serve.
Li paced MIT's attack with 13 kills, followed by Cleeland (12), Katie Rowe (11), and Rose Zhong (10). Morris tallied 37 assists, 16 digs, and two aces as Carrie Buchanan racked up 19 digs. Zhong and Rowe each contributed five blocks while Zhong completed the double-double with 12 digs. Cleeland and Li rounded out the blocking corps with four and three blocks, respectively.
McCormack finished with 24 kills, eight digs, three aces, and three blocks for Coast Guard. Nicole Gurr contributed 13 kills while Megan Durbin chipped in 11 digs. Anne Staley dished out 40 assists as Mary Bitzer led the way with five blocks.