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Women's Volleyball Loses Close Match to Amherst at Nationals

By Paul Dill
Head Coach

For the second straight year, the women's varsity volleyball team earned a place in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Out of almost 400 Division III teams in the country, the NCAA chooses the top 48 to play in a single elimination tournament to determine the National Champion.

The Lady Engineers achieved this honor by sporting a 269 record and finishing second in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference during the regular season, losing only to Wellesley in conference play. This record was their best since the 1994 season.

Entering the tournament as underdogs, the Engineers had to face a very strong and tall Amherst College team in the first round. In what would become one of the best and longest matches of the season, MIT played nip and tuck during the first game as the score went back and forth. Being down in late in the game, MIT came back strong to win 1614 behind the strong play of middle hitter Betsy Sailhamer '99.

The second and third games saw Amherst push hard and take charge of a two games to one lead. However, as the Engineers had done so many times this season, they came back strong to take the fourth game 157, bringing the match score even at two games a piece. In the fifth game, both teams played brilliant volleyball and neither could seem to pull away. With the score tied at 1313, Amherst was able to get the final two points to win the match 32 after over 2 1/2 hours of play.

Sailhamer led MIT with 25 kills and 19 digs while Alarice Huang '00 distributed 64 assists and had 21 digs. Perhaps the best performance was demonstrated by Michelle Fox '99 who played a career match, hammering 21 kills and coming up with 22 digs. In addition, Christina Almodovar '02 contributed 14 kills and Barb Schultze '02 came up 16 digs. Overall, the entire team played tough, not only in this match, but throughout the season.