November 3, 2005

MIT Marches Past WPI In NEWMAC Tournament

Nov. 3, 2005

Stats

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - The No. 1 seed MIT women's volleyball team defeated No. 8 Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 30-14, 30-12, 30-10, in a quarterfinal match of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament on Tuesday night. With the win, MIT improves to 28-7 on the year while WPI ends its season with a record of 10-16.

As the top seed, MIT will host the semifinal and championship matches of the NEWMAC Tournament this weekend. On Friday, Nov. 4, MIT will meet up with No. 4 Smith College at 5:30 p.m. The second semifinal slated to start at 7:30 p.m. will feature No. 2 Springfield College and No. 3 U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The championship match will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 4:00 p.m.

Caroline Jordan paced the Engineers' offense with 13 kills and added one solo and three assisted blocks. Briana Stephenson posted 10 kills while Ellen Sojka contributed nine kills in two games. Lindsay Hunting led the attack from the service line as she totaled five of Tech's 11 aces. Carrie Buchanan recorded a team-high seven digs as Arlis Reynolds collected six. Austin Zimmerman and Amanda Morris shared setting duties as distributed nine assists in one game and Amanda Morris dished out 24, which resulted in a team hitting percentage of .495.

MIT and Smith This Season

Sept. 24: In semifinal action of the MIT Invitational, MIT escaped the opening frame against Smith, 34-32, which was marred by sloppy play. After settling down and regaining their rhythm, the Engineers cruised to 30-21 margins in the second and third games to clinch a spot in the final. Reynolds continued to amass digs at a spectacular pace, finishing with 18. Buchanan also reached double-figures with 10, while she along with Reynolds combined for seven aces without a service error. Zimmerman dished out 38 assists while connecting most efficiently with Stephenson, who totaled 10 kills. Frances Rogoz paced Tech's attack with 12 kills as Jordan recorded 10 of her own.

Oct. 22: In the third-place match of the Hall of Fame Invitational, MIT struggled against Smith's tenacious defense, failing to generate any momentum. The Engineers lost by scores of 30-25, 30-20, 30-18. Jordan paced the balanced attack with seven kills and tallied eight digs. Reynolds posted a team-high 13 digs while Buchanan added 11. Zimmerman led the way with two solo blocks and three aces.

Oct. 25: 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 in NEWMAC play. Reynolds, whose 29 digs helped the Engineers hold the Pioneers to a team hitting performance of .014, eclipsed an 11 year-old mark for digs in a three-game match.

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 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, Jordan disrupted Smith's offense and knotted the score at 17. Zimmerman continued the service line attack with a seven-point run, as Rose Zhong and 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 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.