Engineers bow to Calvin Colege in Div. III tourney
By David Rothstein
The successful women's volleyball season ended suddenly Thursday evening in Ada, OH, as the Engineers bowed out of the NCAA Division III tournament, losing to Calvin College, 15-6, 15-8, 15-7, in the first round of regional play. MIT, which finished the season at 28-5, had qualified for the tournament by posting a 25-4 regular-season record and winning the New England Women's Eight Conference title on Nov. 4.
Although seeded last in a six-team pool, the Engineers were optimistic about their chances against first-seeded Calvin. MIT is no stranger to the NCAA tournament, having already played in four tournaments in this decade before meeting Calvin. The Engineers finished fourth in the nation in 1983, and second in 1984.
But enthusiasm and experience -- MIT regularly started four seniors this year -- were not enough to beat Calvin, which assistant coach Dave Insley described as a young team with a well-balanced attack. Insley assumed head-coaching duties for the tournament because regular head coach Karyn Altman '78, who gave birth to a baby boy on Friday, could not make the trip to Ohio.
Poor serve receiving did MIT in, while Calvin attacked the Engineers from all hitting positions, and played strong defense, according to Insley. Calvin managed to shut down most of MIT's hitters with a solid block and good digging, although Debbie Nungester '89 found some way to get to Calvin with a .454 hitting percentage to lead all hitters.
MIT loses five players to graduation in May. Co-captains Jenny Harris '90, the teams first setter, and Cecilia Warpinski '90, who was voted the 1989 NEW8 Volleyball Athlete of the Year will be gone, as will be middle hitter Nungester and senior outside hitters Tonya Parker and Julie Wissink. The Engineers will be hard pressed to match their success of the past few years, given that the team had no freshmen this year.