Springfield Sweeps Women's Volleyball in NEWMAC Semifinal

Senior Natasha Jensen
Senior Natasha Jensen

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MIT women's volleyball team ended its season with a 25-16, 25-10, 25-15 loss to nationally-ranked No. 19 Springfield College in the semifinals of the NEWMAC Championship Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers ended their campaign with a 23-11 record following their 14th consecutive semifinal appearance.

MIT captured the first two points of the match and after five ties, the last at eight all, the Pride registered the next three points to gain some breathing room. The Engineers battled back, coming within one (12-11) on a block by sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) and senior Kelly Schulte (Riverside, Calif.). Springfield generated another three-point spurt, but a pair of errors kept MIT within striking distance. The Pride responded with a 10-3 run to end the frame.

Like the previous set, the Engineers opened the second stanza with a pair of points. A trio of errors gave Springfield a 3-2 edge, which was quickly erased courtesy of a pair of kills from Schulte. The Pride used a hitting error, two Meaghan Hart aces, and a Lauren Torvi kill to go ahead for good. A serving miscue trimmed MIT's deficit to 7-5, but this was as close as it would get as Springfield mounted an 18-5 run to capture the game.

The Pride established a 5-2 lead in the final frame, which the Engineers narrowed to one courtesy of a hitting error and a strike by junior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.). The hosts scored the next five points to increase their cushion. A kill from senior Cecily Joujon-Roche (Laguna Hills, Calif.) ended the run and was the first of five occasions in which MIT narrowed the gap to four, the final time at 14-10. The Pride countered by tallying 11 of the next 16 points to wrap up the match.

Schulte finished with seven kills and one block while Leonard totaled seven kills, seven digs, and an ace. Joujon-Roche posted four kills as sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) contributed three kills and two blocks. Junior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) dished out 20 assists while junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) and sophomore Jess Fessler (Shortsville, N.Y.) had 11 and seven digs, respectively.