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Volleyball overpowers Wellesley College, 3-0

By David Rothstein

The women's volleyball team defeated Wellesley College last evening at duPont Gymnasium, outscoring the visitors, 15-9, 17-15, 15-11. Outstanding setting by senior Debbie Rego, coupled with the hitting of juniors Susie Gardner and Cindy Parrish, were enough to offset the Engineers' generally lackluster passing.

Wellesley lacked the hitting power necessary to overcome MIT, but passed well, particularly in the second game, when MIT temporarily lost its usually strong serving game. The Engineers trailed, 8-14, before making a strong comeback behind senior An-Na Liu's six consecutive points on serve. Wellesley scored again to lead, 15-14, but a Parrish tip, Wellesley error and Parrish service winner brought the 17-15 victory to the Engineers.

Game No. 3 began slowly and was generally conservative, as both teams appeared to be wary of making mistakes on offense. A Gardner kill brought the score to 7-3 in MIT's favor, after which Wellesley coach Sue Daggett called timeout.

Wellesley made a run to tie the game at 7-7, but after that it was all MIT, led by Parrish (hitting, tipping, blocking and playing good center-back defense), Gardner and Rego. A Parrish solo stuff block in the middle gave MIT a 13-9 advantage and forced Wellesley's second timeout. Kills by sophomore Colleen Johnson and Gardner finished the match.

MIT head coach Karyn Altman '78 -- her head a few hairs grayer, courtesy of game No. 2 -- praised Wellesley's play in the second game, along with Rego's setting, which overcame "some weak spots on passing."

Wellesley could not solve MIT's serve in the first game, and MIT had ample opportunity to be aggressive on the net, killing overpasses left and right. After building an 11-6 lead, MIT experienced some passing problems of its own, allowing Wellesley to bring the score up to 11-9.

Several points later, Rego blocked a Wellesley shot to put MIT up 14-9, and Liu's service ace ended the first game at 15-9.

Parrish finished the night with 18 kills, hitting at a .441 clip, while Gardner had nine kills.

The win was MIT's third of the season and third against New England Women's Eight Conference teams. Tonight, however, the Engineers face a real challenge when Bates College, ranked first in the most recent New England Division III coaches' poll, visits duPont (7 pm match). The last time Bates lost a regular-season match was in 1988, 50 matches ago.

Tomorrow MIT faces Gordon College at 10 am, followed by Eastern Nazarene College, the team Altman calls the one to beat.