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Volleyball Defeats Wellesley, Tallies 30th Victory

By Paul Dill

TEAM COACH

The women’s varsity volleyball team had one of the best weekends in the program’s history. The Engineers reached the 30-win mark for the first time since the 1988 season, beat Wellesley College for the first time since 1996, and won the Hall of Fame Tournament for the first time ever.

The tournament started out with win over Clark University. The Engineers led throughout the match and the end result was never in doubt. MIT took the match 3-0 (30-25, 30-18, 30-26). The offense was led by Joy N. Hart ’06 with 11 kills, while Lauren E. Frick ’03 added six kills and three blocks to the effort.

The next match saw MIT go against Smith College. It was more of the same as the Engineers dominated once again to win 3-0 (30-27, 30-16, 3-26). Kelly A. Martens ’03 led the attack this time with 15 kills, while Arlis A. Reynolds ’06 produced nine service aces and nine defensive digs.

The semi-final match against Amherst College was a match the program had been hoping for. It had been four years since MIT had faced Amherst in the NCAA Championship Tournament, where Amherst had won in a five-game match filled with controversy. This time, the Engineers left no doubt, winning the match outright 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-28). Nydia M. Clayton ’04 led the way with 13 kills, and Austin Zimmerman ’06 dished out a mind-boggling 50 assists. The defense was anchored by Reynolds and Caroline D. Jordan ’06, who had 17 and 14 digs respectively.

Waiting in the finals was conference archrival Wellesley College. MIT started the match showing no fear as the score went back and forth in the first game. After a very hard-fought first game, Wellesley eked out the win 30-28, but a slow momentum in MIT’s favor had started to build. The second game saw that momentum blossom into a 30-20 win for MIT, and even after Wellesley tried to flip their lineup to change match-ups, MIT prevailed again 30-22. The fourth game saw a panicked Wellesley squad try desperately to put something together, but the Engineers only grew stronger as the match went on. MIT finally slammed the door shut 30-20 to win the match 3-1 and the tournament. Outside hitters Hart and Clayton were key to the victory as they put down 18 and 14 kills respectively. Additionally, Zimmerman’s performance throughout the weekend earned her the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Award, and Reynolds broke the MIT single season record for service aces, surpassing the old record of 85, held by Barbara J. Schultze ’02.

The weekend’s performance put the team’s record at 30-2. This is the best start for the team since 1984. The Engineers’ next home match will be Saturday, Nov. 2. against Babson College at 1 p.m. in DuPont Gymnasium.