Women’s volleyball falls in close sets

3286 wvball
Sharon S. Hao ’14 sets the ball as Emma S. Gargus ’14 prepares to spike in the game against Springfield College on Tuesday. Despite winning the first set, the Engineers lost the game.
Sarang Kulkarni

In a hard-fought NEWMAC women’s volleyball match on Tuesday night, visiting Springfield College emerged with a 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-19 victory over MIT. The loss lowered the Engineers’ record to 10-7 on the year and 2-2 in conference play while the Pride improved to 14-2 overall and 4-0 in the NEWMAC.

With the opening frame tied at six, Springfield went on 10-4 run which later resulted in a timeout by MIT. Following the break, the Engineers chipped away at the deficit and capitalized on a pair of miscues to even the set at 20. The teams traded points and Springfield took a 23-22 lead, but the Cardinal and Gray rallied with three straight points to capture the set.

In the second set, MIT gradually established a 9-6 edge. The Pride responded with a 13-3 run to establish its largest margin of the night (19-12). The Engineers then strung together seven consecutive points, featuring four kills by Trinity P. Leonard ’13, to even the score at 19. After a Springfield timeout, they took a two-point lead; MIT stayed within striking distance and eventually knotted the frame at 23 on a kill from Jenny Li ’11 and hitting error by the Pride. A service error gave Springfield set point, but a hit from Kelly E. Schulte ’12 extended the set. Springfield then took two straight points to clinch the game.

MIT quickly created a 6-2 lead in the third frame, but the Pride recorded nine out of the next 10 points to go ahead for good. The Engineers narrowed the gap to one on seven occasions, the last at 21-20. Three consecutive Springfield kills coupled with a hitting miscue prompted a timeout by MIT. The Engineers capitalized on a service error; however, a hitting error resulted in set point (24-21). A hit from Schulte extended the game, but Smolinski’s strike secured the win.

Springfield jumped out to a 12-6 advantage in the final set, but MIT countered with an 11-6 spurt to close the gap to one (18-17). The Pride generated a late rally to score seven of the last nine points of the night.

Leonard tallied 16 kills, three blocks, and two aces while Li posted 15 kills. Schulte notched seven kills and two blocks as Cecily L. Joujon-Roche ’12 contributed four blocks and two aces. Sharon S. Hao ’14 totaled 36 assists and six digs while Katie K. Spielbauer ’13 collected 12 digs.

Next, MIT will travel to Stevens Institute of Technology for the Ducks Invitational this weekend.