Women’s Volleyball Falls to Babson in Five-Set Thriller

Freshman Tori Wuthrich
Freshman Tori Wuthrich

BABSON PARK, Mass. – In a back-and-forth affair, host Babson College emerged with a 20-25, 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women's volleyball match on Tuesday night. Freshman Megan Gebhard (Howell, Mich.) generated a match-high 17 kills to go along with 10 digs and two aces for the Engineers (18-8, 5-3 NEWMAC).

Senior Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) posted 13 kills, a .571 hitting performance, and four blocks as classmate Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) recorded 12 kills. Junior Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) tallied 46 assists and 12 digs as freshman Tori Wuthrich (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) amassed 19 digs. Freshman Jennie Glerum (Redmond, Wash.) and senior Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) rounded out MIT's defense with 11 and five digs, respectively.

A pair of blocks by senior Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Bunker helped power the Engineers to an 8-1 lead in the first set which turned into a 17-8 advantage. Babson narrowed the gap to four on four occasions, the last time at 24-20. Hopes of generating a late rally were thwarted courtesy of Gebhard's kill on the ensuing serve.

The second set was closely played as it featured 10 ties and four lead changes. With the score knotted at 14, the Beavers rattled off five unanswered points en route to an 11-4 run that clinched the set.

The third set was another tight affair that saw nine ties and three lead changes before Babson went up 18-14. MIT slowly battled back as kills from Berger and Gebhard evened the frame at 21 and resulted in a timeout by the Beavers. Following the break, the Engineers capitalized on three hitting errors and an ace by Gebhard to complete the comeback.

MIT carried the momentum into the fourth set as it raced out to a 7-2 lead. Babson responded with a 20-8 run that created a 22-15 advantage. The Engineers replied by scoring seven out of the next eight points to come within one (23-22) but this was as close as it would get as a kill and ace pushed the match to the decisive fifth set.

A trio of errors along with a Gebhard kill gave MIT a 4-2 edge in the final frame but an error and ace tied the set. Strikes by Bunker and Berger gave the Engineers some breathing room and eventually saw them hold an 8-6 advantage at the changeover. Babson generated a 4-1 spurt to reclaim the lead but a kill from junior Jenny Astrachan (Austin, Texas) knotted the score at 10. The Beavers then converted a kill and four errors to end the match.

Next up for MIT will be the Hall of Fame Tournament this weekend. The Engineers will square off with Middlebury College on Friday, Oct. 25 and will continue the action the following day against Williams College and Amherst College.