Engineers Finish Second at Vikings Clash

Seniors Katie Spielbauer and Trinity Leonard
Seniors Katie Spielbauer and Trinity Leonard

CHICAGO, Ill. – In its first appearance at the Vikings Clash hosted by North Park University this past weekend, the MIT women's volleyball team finished second in the standings with a ledger of 3-1. The Engineers fell to Benedictine University, 25-13, 28-26, 25-19, in the opener but bounced back to sweep North Park (25-23, 25-20, 25-17), Marian University (25-20, 25-21, 25-20), and Alverno College (25-12, 25-19, 25-20). Seniors Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) and Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) represented the Cardinal and Gray on the all-tournament team.

Leonard led the way against Benedictine with 15 kills to go along with five digs and two blocks as junior Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) generated nine kills on 18-errorless attempts and three blocks. Freshman Lindsey Wang (Cupertino, Calif.) posted a team-high 10 digs and four aces while Spielbauer followed with nine digs of her own. Junior Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) bolstered the defense with seven digs as sophomore Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) notched 23 assists and seven digs.

Against North Park, junior Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) paced a balanced attack with nine kills in addition to two aces and two blocks. Leonard posted eight kills and five digs as freshman Ada Taylor (Durham, N.C.) generated eight kills, a .462 hitting percentage, and two blocks. Bunker finished with five kills and four blocks while freshman Meryl Gibbs (Bellaire, Texas) registered five kills, a .500 hitting performance, four digs, and two blocks. Spielbauer picked up 11 digs and two aces as Wang totaled six digs and two aces. Gagnier rounded out the squad with 31 assists, five digs, and two blocks.

Leonard racked up 15 kills and eight digs versus Marian while Berger contributed seven kills and two blocks. Gibbs, Bunker, and Taylor each recorded four digs as Gibbs earned five blocks. Junior Emma Gargus (Columbus, Ohio) added four blocks while Spielbauer amassed 15 digs. Wang chipped in seven digs and three aces as Gagnier posted 30 assists and eight digs.

Gibbs totaled a team-high seven kills in the finale with Alverno while Taylor notched four kills and four blocks. Bunker followed with four kills and three blocks as Berger had four kills and two blocks. The blocking barrage continued courtesy of Gargus and sophomore Jenny Astrachan (Austin, Texas), who tacked on two and three blocks, respectively. Spielbauer compiled 18 digs as senior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) totaled nine digs and five assists in one set. Leonard and junior Jess Fessler (Shortsville, N.Y.) both added five digs while Leonard had three aces. Wang also registered three aces as Gagnier tallied 20 assists and two aces.

Next up for MIT (7-1) will be its NEWMAC opener on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Clark University.