Nov. 5, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - No. 4 Smith College became the lowest seeded team in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Volleyball Tournament history to win the title after defeating No. 3 U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 33-31, 30-19, 30-26, on Saturday afternoon. It was also the first time in the conference's seven-year existence that the top-two seeds failed to reach the championship match. As the titleholder, the Pioneers (23-6) will go on to represent the NEWMAC in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament next weekend at Colby College.
In the opening frame, Smith held a sizable lead, but the Bears (23-5) slowly chipped away and overtook the Pioneers with a 28-25 advantage. The Pioneers rattled off four points in a row before Coast Guard evened the game at 29. The Bears took a one-point lead until a pair of miscues from both sides resulted in a 31-31 tie. Smith's front-line dominated play during the next two points, helping the Pioneers take the game.
The Pioneers carried the momentum into the second game as they built a 21-6 advantage. Coast Guard went on a 6-2 run, but that was as close as it would get as Smith cruised to the victory.
The Bears led in the early stages of the third game with Smith getting within one point (8-7). Coast Guard tallied two points in a row which forced a timeout from the Pioneers. Smith picked up the ensuing point but the Bears re-established a three-point advantage (11-8). The Pioneers quickly knotted the game at 11 and both sides went on to trade points until Smith was ahead, 16-15. Smith found its rhythm, eventually taking a 28-21 lead. Coast Guard countered with four unanswered points, leading to another timeout by the Pioneers. Smith regrouped and came out on the winning end of a long rally before taking match point.
Nicole Gurr led Coast Guard with 16 kills while Stephanie Kimmel and Corinne McCormack each added nine of their own. Kimmel had a team-high 16 digs as Christine Rostowfske dished out 40 assists.
Sara Hoffman paced Smith with 14 kills while Lauren Perry distributed 35 assists. Katie Shafer and Kate Sorenson both posted 10 kills and added 28 and 23 digs, respectively. Sammy Lyon recorded eight blocks as Hoffman totaled five.