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Bates ends volleyball streak

By David Rothstein

By the end of the long women's volleyball season, Saturday's loss at the hands of Bates College may seem like small change. But for now, it remains a disappointing end to a modest early-season win streak of four games.

MIT played its worst game of the early season against a strong, although beatable, Bates team in the deciding match of this year's MIT Invitational Volleyball Tournament. Last year, MIT won the Invitational, beating Bates in five games.

Bates and MIT finished first and second, respectively, in this year's tournament, held Friday and Saturday in the DuPont Gymnasium.

The Engineers easily disposed of Gordon and Eastern Nazarene Colleges, the other two teams participating in the four-team round-robin play tournament, beating Gordon on a steamy Friday night, 15-11, 15-6, 15-11, and topping ENC Saturday morning by scores of 15-7, 15-1, and 15-8.

Bates was also undefeated coming into the Saturday afternoon match, but had a harder time against Gordon and ENC. MIT head coach Karyn Altman '78 said that the ease with which MIT beat the first two teams may have contributed to a flat performance against Bates.

"We didn't have to sustain any energy [over Gordon and ENC]," said Altman after the Bates match.

MIT started slowly against Bates, losing the first two games, 4-15 and 6-15, as the team's passing and setting was erratic.

The third game turned into a tug of war, but in the end it was one step forward and two back for the Engineers, who lost, 15-12, to a well-executed Bates offense.

After falling behind, 0-3, in the third game, the Engineers tied the score on a Debbie Nungester '90 solo block.

Bates' Laurie Plante then served her team to an 8-3 lead, which then went to 10-5 on a service ace by teammate Julie Roche, prompting an MIT timeout.

During that timeout, said Altman, she and assistant coach David Insley reminded their team to be patient.

Facing a 6-12 deficit, MIT began a slow comeback, winning three points back on strong serving by setter Jenny Harris '90, and patient play in a long rally for point number eight. Bates added a point to its side, before a second solo block by Nungester spurred another three-point run by the Engineers.

Kills by Tonya Parker '90 and Nyla Hendrick '92 and a Bates defensive miscue brought MIT to within one, at 12-13, but that was as far as it would go. A Plante roll shot brought the game and match winning point to the visiting Bobcats.

Co-captain Cecilia Warpinski '90, whose passing and hitting in the third game kept MIT close to Bates, ended the match with 16 kills, while Parker had seven.

MIT travels to South Hadley, MA, this evening for a New England Women's Eight Conference matchup with the Mount Holyoke College Rams.