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NEW8 first rounds Spikers dump WPI

By David Rothstein

The volleyball team began its defense of the New England Women's Eight Conference championships title with a lackluster, if decisive, three-game win over the Worcester Polytechnic Institute yesterday evening at du Pont Gymnasium.

The hosting Engineers defeated the visiting Engineers -- the teams share a common name -- 15-7, 15-7, 15-1 in the opening round of the NEW8 tournament, and will face either Mount Holyoke College or Smith College in the tournament's semi-final match, to be held Saturday at noon at Smith.

WPI hardly belonged on the court with MIT, but Tech played gracious host by allowing WPI to rally at several points during the match, and even lead (yes, lead) MIT at one point in the first game.

MIT, which finished its regular season Wednesday evening with a 3-1 loss to Bentley College, lacked the intensity it had displayed in defeating WPI two weeks earlier, as off-the-mark receiving and hitting by MIT allowed WPI more than its share of points.

Despite the slowish win, there appeared to be no reason to doubt MIT's ability to win the NEW8 title for a second straight year, as the Engineers have had little competition throughout the season from their NEW8 rivals.

MIT head coach Karyn Altman '78 noted that MIT's lack of intensity "is something I'd prefer not to happen," but she did not appear unduly concerned by her team's performance.

"My main concern," she said, "is that we started out slowly."

MIT did start slowly in the first game, allowing WPI to take a 6-5 lead before an Altman timeout spurred a 7-0 MIT run en route to the 15-7 win. Freshman Coleen Kaiser got a rare start, playing the back row and serving well while setter Debbie Rego '91 connected with team captain Cindy Parrish '92 in the middle on a few quick-offense attacks.

The second game saw MIT run out to a 13-0 lead before the host Engineers ground to a halt, and watched as WPI pulled of a couple of Keystone Cop rallies to score seven straight points. MIT was plagued particularly by its poor passing, which continually sent Rego scrambling.

Not to be outdone, WPI -- after narrowing MIT's lead to 13-7 -- served long and promptly came up with two kill errors to give MIT the victory.

Game No. 3 went a bit more smoothly for MIT, which ran up a 7-0 lead, gave up one point to WPI, and then trotted off to a 15-1 victory.

Altman sat Rego and elected for a 4-2 offense, with junior Stephanie Coleman and Colleen Johnson '93 sharing setting duties.

Susie Gardner '92 blocked a WPI weak-side attack to give MIT a 14-1 advantage, and after a pair of sideouts, senior An-Na Liu's soft hit into the middle was met by even softer WPI defense on match point.

Parrish selected as

Player of the Year

MIT team captain Cindy Parrish '92 was recently selected by the NEW8 volleyball coaches as the 1990 NEW8 Volleyball Player of the Year. This marks the second year in a row that an MIT player has won the honor, after Cecilia Warpinski '90 was selected as 1989 Player of the Year.

Susie Gardner '92 was selected to the NEW8 All-Conference team.