Volleyball bounces WPI from duPont
By Jordan J. Ditchek
and David Rothstein
The women's volleyball team unceremoniously bounced Worcester Polytechnic Institute out of duPont Gymnasium last night, defeating the visiting Engineers, 15-4, 15-1, 12-15, 15-3, to run MIT's record to 23-8 overall.
The win gives the women's volleyball team an undefeated record (6-0) in the New England Women's Eight Conference, and thus the top seed in the NEW8 tournament, which will be held Nov. 3 at Smith College. MIT defeated Smith in last year's NEW8 championship final.
MIT wasted little time in disposing of WPI; it was only head coach Karyn Altman '78's insistence on leaving a full complement of substitutes in the third game that allowed WPI to take a game from MIT.
A comfortable two game lead allowed Altman to give her substitutes some playing time. The players off the bench performed well, but the momentum shifted as WPI capitalized on poor setting by MIT. Strong serves gave WPI a 11-4 lead, but Altman showed confidence in the second team by keeping it in the game.
"This was a good opportunity to play the subs," she said after the match. "There will be situations where we will need them, and they must get some experience."
MIT made the game close, as Kathleen LieuKieSong '93 served four consecutive points to close the gap at 13-12. The home team regained control of the game, but WPI managed to hang on, stealing game three, 15-12.
The fourth game featured a return of the MIT starting lineup, which picked up where it left off in the second game. Kills by juniors Cindy Parrish and Susie Gardner and excellent serving by An-Na Liu '91, enabled MIT to take an insurmountable, 10-1 lead. Five more sets by Debbie Rego '91, including the game winner to Gardner, put game four and the match on ice.
Coach uses new strategy
Altman, pleased with her team's performance, used tonight's game as an opportunity to implement some new strategies.
"We used a three-person service receive, which is something we've been working on for a while." Altman was also impressed with her players' willingness to serve aggressively.
"We're going to have to do that against Springfield [College on Tuesday], which will be a tougher match."
In the first game, MIT pulled out to a 7-2 lead by virtue of strong serving by Parrish and Liu. After a WPI timeout, the visiting Engineers pulled only a bit closer, to 8-4, before MIT ripped off seven straight points, winning on Liu's service winner.
Setter Rego, perhaps in trying to provide a light moment, tried to power tip on game point, but found herself about a foot too low to accomplish the feat. The ball went -- admittedly with great force -- into the net, and WPI's defeated was delayed by a moment.
A short second game
Game No. 2 progressed in a fashion similar to that of the first game, but at a more reasonable pace, as it took only 11 minutes for MIT to dispose of the hapless WPI team.
MIT played pinball with WPI's back-row players: MIT's front row blasted shots downward, and WPI, when it could get a hand on the ball, sprayed the shots ceiling-ward, as often as not.
WPI took a 1-0 lead early, but soon fell behind, 2-1. MIT then ran off another seven straight points, as Parrish served WPI into disarray. With MIT's lead at 10-1, a Rego ball handling error gave WPI the serve, and a chance to mount a storming comeback. But it was not to be.
MIT finished out the game on two Gardner kills, a Rego service winner and two sloppy WPI plays.
WPI coach Nancy Vaskas congratulated MIT on the victory. "MIT is always a strong team. We expect that every time we come here. Our team is young, and its important for us to play teams like MIT."
The Engineers travel to Springfield College Tuesday, and finishes its regular season Thursday with a match at Bentley College.