Middlebury College 3, No. 21 MIT 1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-15, 25-19)
Tufts University 3, No. 21 MIT 1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20)
- Records: MIT (22-4); Middlebury (13-5); Tufts (14-8)
- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)
- The Lead: The nationally-ranked No. 21 MIT women's volleyball team fell to Middlebury College, 25-19, 19-25, 25-15, 25-19, and Tufts University, 23-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20, in Saturday's finale of the New England Challenge. Senior Carly Silvernale (Bellvue, Wash.) represented the Engineers on the All-Tournament Team.
HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH ONE vs. Middlebury:
- Set 1: Middlebury built a 6-2 edge and maintained a small margin throughout the set en route to a 25-19 win.
- Set 2: MIT gradually inched out to a 13-9 lead following a hitting error by the Panthers. After a Middlebury timeout, both teams exchanged points, moving the score to 18-14. The Panthers put together a 4-1 spurt that was bookended by Sarah Staver kills. The Engineers replied with a kill from senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) which kicked off a 6-1 set-ending run.
- Set 3: Middlebury raced out to an 11-4 advantage which later grew to 17-9 after an MIT serving error. The Engineers chipped away at the deficit, coming within 19-14 after a kill by freshman Hannah Grupe (Oakwood, Ohio). The Panthers went on to score six of the last seven points to secure the win.
- Set 4: Trailing 4-1, Middlebury mounted a 10-2 run that put it ahead for good. MIT used a 4-1 spurt to come within two (12-10), however, the Panthers matched it, helping them create some breathing room. Despite the deficit MIT continued to attack as a setting error trimmed the margin to 22-18. Middlebury countered with a Corley Doyle kill and a Chellsa Ferdinand ace to reach match point. A kill by junior Alexis Groark (Elwood, N.Y.) extended the match but a kill from Isabel Sessions clinched the victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Bertics led all players with 20 kills, followed by 10 from Groark.
- Junior Shea Landeene (Phoenix, Ariz.) posted eight kills and three blocks while Grupe bolstered the front row with four blocks.
- Silvernale generated 12 digs as junior Madison Lee (Hillsborough, Calif.) totaled 10 of her own.
- Senior Christina Liao (Warren, N.J.) produced 41 assists and eight digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH TWO vs. Tufts:
- Set 1: Trailing 19-13, kills by Mackenzie Bright and Heather Holz along with three aces by Cate Desler brought Tufts within one. MIT picked up three of the next four points, as a kill by Groark gave the Engineers a 23-20 edge. The Jumbos quickly tied things up courtesy of two Maddie Stewart kills and an ace from Brigid Bell. After its own timeout, MIT capitalized on a Bertics kill and a Tufts hitting error to capture the win.
- Set 2: The Jumbos quickly built a 10-3 advantage, but the Engineers chipped away at the deficit, narrowing the gap to 14-10 on a hitting error. This was as close as it would get as a Desler kill sparked a 11-5 run to wrap up the set.
- Set 3: A kill by senior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) coupled with a ball-handling error brought MIT within 10-9. Tufts used a Bell ace along with miscues by the Engineers to create a 16-9 advantage. The Engineers battled back, trimming the margin to 19-16 following a Bertics kill. After trading sideouts, the Jumbos generated five of the last seven points to claim the victory.
- Set 4: Tufts opened the frame with nine unanswered points before going on to hold a 20-10 advantage. Following two Bertics kills and a hitting error by the Jumbos, an exchange of points ensued that moved the score to 24-17. Kills by Groark and Staub in addition to a hitting error kept MIT alive. However, the late rally was thwarted due to a serving error.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Bertics finished with a match-high 18 kills and 12 digs while Groark contributed 11 kills.
- Liao posted 36 assists and seven digs as Silvernale and freshman Margaret Wang (Rockville, Md.) registered 10 and seven digs, respectively.
- MIT returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 23 when it travels to local NEWMAC rival Emerson College for a 7:00 p.m. match.