MIT Defeats Coast Guard in Four Sets

Senior Trinity Leonard
Senior Trinity Leonard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Four MIT women's volleyball players reached double-digits in kills while two posted double-doubles in a 25-27, 25-17, 25-19, 25-18 victory over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday night. With their fifth win in a row, the Engineers improved to 15-2 on the year and 3-1 in NEWMAC play. The Bears, meanwhile, saw their ledger lower to 8-6 overall and 2-2 in conference action.

Freshman Ada Taylor (Durham, N.C.) racked up a match-high 15 kills to go along with a .462 hitting performance and four blocks for MIT. Classmate Meryl Gibbs (Bellaire, Texas) produced 14 kills and two blocks while senior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) tallied 20 digs, 11 kills, and two blocks. Junior Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) contributed 11 kills and two blocks as classmate Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) added 10 kills and two blocks. Senior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) and freshman Lindsey Wang (Cupertino, Calif.) both earned three aces in addition to collecting 16 and 15 digs, respectively. Senior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) rounded out the squad with 48 assists, 14 digs, and two blocks.

Senior Keriann Mason (Highland, Calif.) paced Coast Guard with 10 kills as classmate Samantha Marmolejo (El Paso, Texas) totaled 16 digs. Senior Karen Matic (Oswego, Ill.) dished out 19 assists while junior Kelsey DePorto (Frankfort, Ill.) generated five blocks.

The Bears jumped out to an 8-3 lead and maintained their comfortable cushion as they stayed in front at 13-8. MIT responded with five unanswered points to create the first of 10 ties that would occur in the frame. The fourth lead change of the set came on an ace by freshman Emily Gilland (Daleville, Ind.) while a block by DePorto and Matic put Coast Guard ahead, 23-21, and prompted a timeout by the Engineers. Following the break, MIT registered the next three points to reclaim the lead and earn set point; however, another block by Matic leveled the score at 24. Leonard's kill gave the Engineers the edge, but a hitting error and back-to-back strikes by Mason clinched the first-set win for the visitors.

The Cardinal and Gray established an 11-4 advantage in the second stanza which eventually grew to 21-11. Coast Guard responded by scoring six of the next eight points but it would get no closer as strikes by Bunker and Berger closed out the set.

A block by DePorto and senior Catherine Walker (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) along with a DePorto kill opened the third set for the Bears. MIT replied with a five-point spurt and maintained its slight cushion until mounting a 12-6 run that resulted in a 22-13 lead and a Coast Guard timeout. Like the second set, the Bears picked up six of the next eight points as a strike by Walker and an ace from sophomore Elise Sako (Cleveland, Ohio) denied the Engineers set point. However, the late rally ended courtesy of a kill from Leonard.

Strong serving by Wang early in the fourth set produced three aces and a 9-3 lead for the hosts. The Bears slowly chipped away at the deficit as a kill from Matic narrowed the gap to 16-12. MIT recorded five consecutive points to gain some breathing room; however, Coast Guard continued to attack and trimmed the margin to 22-17 following back-to-back strikes from sophomore Leigh Anne Brazier (Stony Brook, N.Y.). Bunker earned a kill off the Bears' block as a hitting error resulted in match point for the Engineers. A serving miscue extended the night for Coast Guard but a blast from Berger secured the victory for MIT.

Both squads return to tournament action this weekend. MIT will participate in the Johnson & Wales University Fall Classic while Coast Guard will travel to Stevens Institute of Technology for the Ducks Invitational.