GAME OF THE WEEK MIT Women’s Volleyball Wins in NEWMAC Quarterfinal Match

In the first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament meeting between MIT and Babson College, the No. 3-seeded Engineers emerged with a 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 25-17 victory over the No. 6 Beavers in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday. MIT (21-15) will travel to Springfield College on Friday, Nov. 8 to square off with No. 2 Wellesley College in semifinal action. Babson concluded its season with an overall record of 16-11.

With the score tied at two in the opening set, the Engineers mounted a 10-1 run, capped by a hit from Barden E. Cleeland ’10 that dropped in behind the Beavers’ defense. Babson slowly chipped away at the deficit, coming within six (16-10), but MIT registered seven out of the next 10 points to establish a 23-13 advantage. The Beavers notched the next three points before a strike from Jennifer Li ’11 resulted in set point. Caitlin O’Neill prolonged the frame by sneaking the ball through the Engineers’ block. The Engineers would not be denied set point and converted their next opportunity.

MIT tallied nine unanswered points to start the second set and went on to build an 18-6 lead. Babson narrowed the margin to eight on three occasions, the last at 23-15. That was as close as it would get as hits from Katrina M. Ellison ’10 and Cecily L. Joujon-Roche ’12 closed out the set.

In the third set, the Engineers created a 5-2 edge. Miscues coupled with a block by O’Neill put the Beavers ahead, 6-5. After trading points, Babson converted a trio of errors to take a 12-8 lead. MIT battled back and evened the score at 14 on Lindsay E. Hunting’s ’09 hit from the back row. Following another tie that featured kills from O’Neill and Allison E. Hamilos ’12, an error and then a block by Meg Flaherty gave the Beavers the lead for good. The Engineers trailed by one point as late as 19-18, but Babson generated a 5-2 spurt which was capped by Alexa Untermann’s ace, resulting in set point. Blocks featuring Cleeland with Ellison and Hamilos and then a kill by Cleeland narrowed the gap to 24-23. A service error ended MIT’s run and forced an additional set.

The early stages of the fourth set were closely played as Babson converted a service error to take a 6-5 edge. The Engineers responded with an 11-1 run to regain the lead. The Beavers narrowed the gap to seven (22-15), but they could not generate a late rally to extend the match.

Cleeland collected a team-high six blocks to go along with seven kills for MIT. Li tallied eight kills and four blocks while Kelly E. Schulte ’12 posted eight kills and three blocks. Joujon-Roche amassed six kills, three blocks, and two aces while Ellison added nine digs and eight kills. Hamilos bolstered the Engineers’ attack with four kills as Hunting totaled nine digs. Catherine Melnikow ’10 finished with 26 assists and eight digs.

O’Neill paced Babson with 11 kills while Flaherty contributed nine of her own. Shanna Glassner recorded a match-high 15 digs as Anna Belz dished out 27 assists.