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Volleyball Scores Upsets On Way to 2nd at Bates

By Paul Dill
Team Coach

The women's volleyball team upset two ranked teams this past weekend on their way to a second place finish out of 16 teams at the Bates Invitational Tournament.

In pool play, MIT first defeated Western Connecticut State University in three games (158, 159, 159). In their second match, the Engineers had to take on a strong SUNY-Binghamton team, ranked fourth in the New York region. MIT was able to upset them in five games (1015, 157, 151, 1315, 158). Co-Captain Betsy Sailhamer '99 had a season 31 kills in the match while setter Alarice Huang '00 dispensed 61 assists.

Having won their pool with a record of 20, the Engineers went on to the semi-finals to face Eastern Connecticut State University who were not only were ranked 4th in New England, but also had beaten MIT the weekend before.

After surprising ECSU by taking game one 155, MIT braced itself for a hitting barrage that would come from this highly ranked team; but, it never came. Instead, after getting down 03 early in game two, Alarice Huang '00 served 13 straight points with 6 of them being aces.

MIT took the second game 156. After being totally taken out of their offense by the great serving of MIT, ECSU folded in game three and the Engineers avenged the loss from the weekend before by taking game three 156.

This victory put MIT in the finals with a rematch against Springfield College who had beaten MIT earlier in the season and was ranked third overall in the region. Although the Engineers put up a tremendous fight, they could not quite put together their third upsets of the weekend, losing in a close five game match (1215, 158, 152, 1215, 1215). Defense was the big story in this match as MIT shut down two of Springfield's best hitters. Jill Eich '99 led the team with 16 digs for the match while Co-Captains Sailhamer and Michelle Fox '99 combined to put up 17 blocks.

Sailhamer was selected to the all-tournament team.She finished with a total of 83 kills, 27 digs and 24 blocks for the tournament. Huang was also instrumental in the team's success with 163 assists and 15 aces, as was back row defensive specialist Jennifer Elizondo '99 who had 27 digs and did not miss a serve all weekend.

This tournament performance propelled the team to fourth-ranked in the New England poll. This is the highest ranking achieved by MIT in the past three years.

The Engineers continued their winning ways Tuesday night by beating Clark University 30 (1510, 156, 1511). The team was led by Heather Lukacs '00 who had a .380 kill percentage for the match. MIT remains undefeated in its conference at 40 with a 95 overall record. The team's next home match is Tuesday Oct. 14th vs. Mount Holyoke College at 7:00 p.m. in DuPont Gymnasium.