Women’s volleyball wins NEWMAC championship
This past weekend, MIT’s women’s volleyball team won the NEWMAC championship for the fifth time in program history. As the top seed, the Engineers played both the semifinal and the championship games at home and were able to beat Babson College and Clark University to claim the title. Both games finished 3-1 and MIT truly displayed the dominance they’ve sustained all season long. They will look to continue their success going into the NCAA tournament.
On Saturday, MIT played Babson in the semifinal game. When the two teams played earlier in the season, MIT had the upper hand and came away with a 3-0 sweep. This game obviously had much more importance to both teams, and Babson came out prepared. They seized a 5-2 advantage early in the first set, but it wasn’t long before MIT went on a run of their own. They responded incredibly, scoring 10 of the next 11 points and taking complete control of the first set. It ended 16-25, giving the Engineers an early 1-0 advantage. The second set saw much of the same, as the Engineers jumped out to an early 8-3 lead and maintained a strong separation in an eventual 25-15 win.
The third set was much more intense. Babson, despite dropping the first two, was not ready to concede. They took a commanding 12-5 lead, and seemed much more confident than in the first two sets. MIT stayed with them and gradually reduced the deficit as the set went along. They managed to retake the lead, at 22-21, but unfortunately Babson would go on to win it 25-27, forcing a fourth set.
The Engineers were not discouraged, and retook the control they maintained early on. The final set finished 16-25, giving MIT the win and a bid to face Clark, who they defeated 3-2 earlier in the season, in the championship game.
Megan Gebhard ’17 ended with 20 kills and Abby Bertics ’19 finished with 17 kills on a very impressive .519 kill percentage.
The first set against Clark started out much like the game against Babson. The two teams remained close until MIT went on a great run that gave them a strong advantage. The set ended 25-14 and MIT seemingly had all the momentum.
The second set ended up being a much closer battle that saw the two teams go back and forth. The Cougars maintained an early lead, but the engineers remained close for most of the set. After closing the gap to 15-17 on a kill from Lisette Tellez ’18, Clark went on an 8-2 run to close it 25-17 and tie the game 1-1.
MIT was dominant in the final two sets of the game. After storming out to an early lead in the third set, they never let Clark close the gap and easily won it 16-25. The final set saw Clark gain an early advantage, but MIT caught up quickly. After being tied 13-13, they closed with a stellar 12-4 run that won them the set, the game, and the title. Tori Wuthrich ’17 finished with 26 digs and Gebhard, who ended as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, finished with 20 kills.
After securing the NEWMAC championship, the team is preparing for the NCAA tournament. They will be playing their first round game against Framingham State University at Tufts on Friday, Nov. 11.