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Lady Engineers Place Third After Pulling Off Upset Against E. Conn

By Paul Dill
Head Coach

The varsity women's volleyball team went 30 before losing to eventual tournament champions Wellesley College in the semi-finals of the MIT Invitational held this past weekend.

The Engineers opened pool play of their tournament against Skidmore College and quickly dispensed of them winning 30 (1512, 1512, 1510). Middle hitters Betsy Sailhamer '99 and Lijin Aryananda G had a field day with 16 and 9 kills respectively, while back row specialist Julia Ruiz '99 contributed five service aces and 14 digs.

The next match pitted MIT against the number one ranked team in New England, Eastern Connecticut State University. MIT struggled in the first game and lost 1015. Things looked even bleaker in the second game as the Engineers found themselves down 09. MIT was able to score a few points here and there thanks to the serving of Ruiz, but still found themselves down 312 and then 814. With game point against them, Ruiz again came to the rescue serving seven straight points to give MIT the lead 1514. After trading side-outs, The Engineers were able to finish Eastern Connecticut off 1614. The next two games were more of the same as the Engineers found themselves facing game points in the third and fourth games, but they were able to come back and win 1715 and 1614 to take the match 31 (1015, 1614, 1715, 1614). Michelle Fox '99 led the way this time with 15 kills and 15 digs, while Alarice Huang '00 set brilliantly with 41 assists, and Christina Almodovar added 21 digs.

This victory gave MIT a first rank among their pool and set them up to meet Wesleyan College in the quarter-finals. Again, the Engineers got out to a slow start, losing the first game 1315. MIT then found their groove in the next three games winning 157, 155, 1512 to take the match 31. Sailhamer proved to be the big gun again with 17 kills, 24 digs and four service aces.

In the semi-finals, MIT found themselves up against a Wellesley College team that had only lost one game all season. Although, MIT fought hard, Wellesley proved to be a little too strong on this day. MIT lost the match 03 (915, 915, 815) to finish third out of 16 teams. Wellesley went on to win the tournament, beating Williams College in the finals 30 (159, 157, 158).

The strong showing in the tournament and the win over top ranked Eastern Connecticut should help to move the currently sixth ranked Engineers further up in the rankings this week.