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Women's Volleyball Finishes Sixth at Tourney

By Paul Dill

TEAM COACH

The women’s volleyball team traveled to the Hall of Fame Tournament this past weekend where it finished 6th of 16 teams.

In their first match, the Engineers took on Gordon College in a must-win match to help maintain their current ranking. After a slow start in the first game, MIT took charge of the match shutting down Gordon’s two big hitters and stifling their offense. MIT took the match 3-0 (15-10, 15-6, 16-14), giving it two victories out of three against Gordon this season. Kelly Martens ’03 and Nydia Clayton ’04 led the way with 12 kills each, while captains Barb Schultze ’02 and Parisa Habibi ’02 had 14 and 13 digs respectively.

In their next match, MIT took on a very strong Division II team, the University of Puerto Rico. They had returned to defend their title won in 1999, and although the Engineers fought valiantly, Puerto Rico prevailed 3-1 (15-6, 13-15, 15-10, 15-8). Martens and Clayton led the way again with 21 and 18 kills respectively, while setter Christina Almodovar ’02 dished out 46 assists in the effort. Puerto Rico went on to win the tournament.

The Engineers would next have to face arch rival Springfield College, and would have to do so without the services of setter Almodovar who sprained her wrist late in the match against Puerto Rico. Schultze would be forced to take on the setter responsibilities while Jill Kaup ’03 would take Shultze’s normal position.

In the first two games, MIT could not quite get used to the new lineup, and MIT dropped them 2-15, 7-15. However, MIT would start to find their stride and were winning the third game, when one of Springfield’s starters went down with an ankle injury. The Engineers would take advantage to take the next two games 15-12, 15-8 behind the inspired play of Amy Mok ’02 who led the way with 14 kills and 16 digs.

The fifth game saw MIT constantly behind in the score and down 11-4 before mounting one of the best comebacks of the season to win the fifth game 17-15 and taking the match 3-2. This victory was a tremendous upset considering that Springfield was ranked #2 in the New England region.

Having spent themselves emotionally and physically against Springfield, MIT had little left to offer on the court against #4 ranked Brandeis University who took the match easily 3-0. However, MIT had prevailed against the odds and propelled themselves to a #8 ranking in the region. Overall, the entire team came together to turn what could have been a disastrous weekend into a triumphant one.

Kelly Martens was rewarded for her stellar play with a spot on the All-Tournament Team, and it was also great to see defensive specialist Linda Yu ’02 contributing so much after missing out on last season with knee injury. MIT will host their quarterfinal match of the NEWMAC Conference Tournament this coming Tuesday (October 31st) at 7 p.m. in Du Pont Gymnasium.