Engineers Place Fourth at MIT Volleyball Invitational

Senior Natasha Jensen
Senior Natasha Jensen

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With a 2-2 ledger, the women's volleyball team placed fourth at its own MIT Invitational this past weekend. The Engineers finished atop their pool on Friday after sweeping Newbury College (25-9, 25-14, 25-16) and Colby College (25-22, 25-20, 25-22), resulting in a spot in the championship bracket. The next day, MIT fell to Connecticut College (25-22, 25-18, 25-22) in the semifinals and was then defeated by Tufts University (22-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-17) in the third place match. Senior Natasha Jensen (Columbia, Md.) represented the Cardinal and Gray on the All-Tournament Team.

In the program's first meeting with Newbury, sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) powered MIT with six kills, five aces, three digs, and two blocks. Freshman Morgan Stewart (Powell, Ohio) contributed five kills to the balanced attack while Jensen earned three aces in one set. Junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) posted nine digs and three aces while freshman Kaitlin Ahlers (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added two aces. Sophomore Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) totaled nine assists, four digs, and three aces on four serving attempts. Freshman Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) dished out four assists as junior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) chipped in four assists and two aces.

Against Colby, senior Cecily Joujon-Roche (Laguna Hills, Calif.) recorded 11 kills, a .579 hitting percentage, and five blocks while Bunker notched seven kills, a .545 hitting performance, and four blocks. Senior Kelly Schulte (Riverside, Calif.) tallied nine kills, three blocks, and two aces as sophomore Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) totaled eight kills and two blocks. Gagnier compiled 34 assists and eight digs while Jensen contributed seven digs and four aces. Spielbauer paced the defense with 10 digs as sophomore Jess Fessler (Shortsville, N.Y.) tacked on five digs.

In the semifinal tilt with Connecticut College, Schulte totaled eight kills and four blocks while Bunker led the front row with six blocks. Joujon-Roche registered seven kills, a .368 hitting percentage, and two aces as junior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) bolstered the attack with six kills. Spielbauer notched a team-high 14 digs while Berger collected 12 digs and three aces. Fessler and Jensen added seven and four digs, respectively. Gagnier led the setting corps with 12 assists, followed by Rothman (nine) and Hao (five).

Bunker was a force at the net versus Tufts as she recorded 11 kills, a .435 hitting performance, and three blocks. Berger tallied eight kills, eight digs, three blocks, and two aces while Joujon-Roche compiled eight kills, two blocks, and two aces. Schulte added eight kills to MIT's cause as Spielbauer amassed 18 digs and five aces. Gagnier finished with 28 assists and five digs while Rothman dished out seven assists. Jensen rounded out the Engineers with six digs.

MIT (13-3) returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at NEWMAC foe Springfield College.