- Score: No. 21 MIT 3, Williams College 1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22)
- Records: MIT (22-2); Williams (11-9)
- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)
- The Lead: In a closely played women's volleyball match that featured 23 ties and eight lead changes, nationally-ranked No. 21 MIT battled Williams College for a 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22 victory in the opening match of the New England Challenge on Friday night. Senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) tallied a match-high 23 kills to go along with 10 digs and three blocks for the Engineers.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Set 1: The opening frame was a back-and-forth affair as there were 12 ties and five lead changes. Deadlocked at 18, a kill by senior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) sparked a 5-1 burst which capped by a pair of Bertics kills. After a Williams timeout, an exchange of points ensued until an ace by Allicia Blanco narrowed the gap to 24-22 for the visitors. MIT ended the comeback attempt courtesy of another kill from Bertics.
- Set 2: Trailing 7-6, a block by Mia Weinland and Tess Richman kicked off an 8-3 run that put the Ephs ahead for good. The Engineers evened the score at 14 on a kill by junior Shea Landeene (Phoenix, Ariz.) but Williams won the next three points. A series of small spurts by both sides followed as an ace by senior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) tied the score at 22. The Ephs then capitalized on a serving error and back-to-back Roxi Corbeil kills to secure the win.
- Set 3: MIT jumped out to a 12-3 lead which later grew to 20-10 after kill by Landeene. Williams gradually put together a 7-1 run that featured a pair of aces by Daiana Takashima. After an Engineers' timeout, two kills by junior Alexis Groark (Elwood, N.Y.) bookended a Landeene ace, resulting in set point. A trio of MIT errors kept the Ephs alive, however, another Groark strike ended the frame.
- Set 4: The Engineers recorded four of the first five points of the set and maintained a small cushion until a serving error, an ace from Takashima, and another Weinland-Richman block brought Williams within 18-17. Both sides went on to trade points, moving the score to 23-22 after a block by Alex Newton. MIT replied with kills from Groark and Staub to wrap up the match.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Groark finished with 16 kills and a .300 hitting performance while Staub totaled 10 kills, a .588 hitting effort, and five blocks.
- Silvernale led all players with 18 digs as freshman Hannah Grupe (Oakwood, Ohio) bolstered the defense with three blocks.
- Weinland registered 14 kills and four blocks as Olivia Hindy tallied 12 kills and six blocks.
- Newton generated 38 assists, five digs, four blocks, and two aces while Takashima notched 15 digs and three aces.
- MIT and Williams return to action on Saturday, Oct. 20 with matches at 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to close out the New England Challenge. The Engineers will face Middlebury College followed by Tufts University. The Ephs, meanwhile, will take on Springfield College and Babson College.