MIT Falls to Springfield, 3-0

Senior Rachel Hunt
Senior Rachel Hunt

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Behind the strength of a .446 hitting performance, the Springfield College women's volleyball team defeated MIT, 25-17, 25-22, 25-17, in a NEWMAC match on Saturday afternoon. With three players in double-digits for kills, freshman Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) led the Pride (10-0, 2-0 NEWMAC) with 12 kills to go along with three blocks. Junior Jenny Astrachan (Austin, Texas) paced the Engineers (9-5, 1-1 NEWMAC) with 14 kills.

Springfield established a 6-3 edge in the opening set, but MIT generated an 8-3 spurt as back-to-back Astrachan kills put it in front, 11-9. Following a timeout by the Pride, the visitors captured nine of the next 10 points by capitalizing on several miscues by the Engineers to reclaim the lead for good. After a timeout by the hosts, an exchange of sideouts ensued which brought MIT within four (19-15). Springfield quickly doubled its advantage and later won the set on a strike by sophomore Elise Brogan (Andover, Mass.).

The Engineers raced out to a 10-5 advantage in the second stanza, courtesy of three straight kills by Astrachan. The Pride battled back, generating a trio of ties before kills by senior Tessa Smolinski (Hebron, Conn.) and Holt resulted in a 17-15 lead. The set became a back-and-forth affair until a kill from Holt coupled with an MIT hitting error gave the visitors set point at 24-21. Senior Tatiana Berger's (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) kill extended the frame but a Smolinski strike thwarted the attempt at a late rally.

The early stages of the third set were closely played as it featured five ties and four lead changes. A pair of errors and two kills from sophomore Kelsey McGayhey (Shelter Island, N.Y.) sparked a 10-1 run that gave the Pride an 18-10 lead. Freshman Lara Markey (San Diego, Calif.) produced a kill for the Engineers following their own timeout, but this was as close as it would get as Springfield maintained a comfortable cushion en route to the victory.

Senior Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) recorded 10 kills, a .389 hitting performance, and three blocks for MIT. Berger finished with eight kills and three digs as senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) added two blocks. Freshman Tori Wuthrich (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) collected 10 digs, followed by seven from classmate Jennie Glerum (Redmond, Wash.). Junior Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) dished out 29 assists for the Engineers.

McGayhey totaled 11 kills while Smolinski registered 10 kills, seven digs, and two aces. Sophomore Daniella Crismani (San Francisco, Calif.) posted eight kills, five digs and two aces as freshman Meghan Kinee (Williamstown, N.J.) contributed seven digs. Junior Whitney Miller (Cuba, N.Y.) compiled 35 assists and five digs for the Pride.

Both squads continue conference action on Tuesday, Sept. 24. MIT will host Mount Holyoke College while Springfield will make the trip to Babson College.