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Women’s Volleyball Team Starts Season Undefeated

By Paul Dill

The MIT Women’s Volleyball Team started the 2005 campaign right where they left off last season, winning the Gordon Invitational Tournament for the fourth consecutive time.

The Engineers opened the season with a convincing 3–0 victory over host team Gordon. Powered in the front court by an error-free 14 kills (hits for points) on 31 attempts by Frances M. Rogoz ’07 and 13 kills by Caroline D. Jordan ’06, MIT was rarely behind in any game, winning 30–22, 30–21, 30–22. Jordan and Rogoz each dropped six kills in the second game.

Defensively, MIT was led by Arlis A. Reynolds ’06 and Carrie C. Buchanan ’08, with 18 and 13 digs (balls saved from landing for points) respectively. Alex N. Huston-Carico ’08 supplied four total blocks at the net. Reynolds anchored the Engineer back line with eight digs in the second game. Austin Zimmerman ’06 dished out 24 assists in two games while adding six kills on just eight swings. Zimmerman split setting duties with Amanda J. Morris ’08, who tallied 14 assists.

The Engineers improved to 2–0 and clinched a berth in the finals of the tournament with another straight-set victory over Eastern Connecticut State University. Implementing a brand new offensive scheme, the Engineers took control of the match early and never let go, winning 30–22, 30–16, 30–24.

Rogoz and Jordan again commanded front-row play with four blocks a piece, while Rogoz’s 14 kills were a team-high. Jordan added 12 kills from 24 attempts with just two errors for a strong 0.417 hitting performance, including an error-free six kills in the first game. Fellow middle blocker Huston-Carico scored eight times from just 18 swings for a 0.389 average.

Buchanan led the defense with 11 digs, including six in game two, while chipping in two of the Engineers’ 12 service aces. Lindsay E. Hunting ’09 and Reynolds were also dangerous from the service line, combining for seven aces.

In the finals, the Engineers got off to a slow start, falling behind early in the first game 8–13. Slowly but surely MIT hit their stride and took control of the game, eventually winning 30–19. The Engineers never looked back through the next two games, winning both 30–19 to win the championship 3–0. Zimmerman picked up her 1,000th career dig and Jordan and Rogoz were each the top two offensive players for the Engineers.

Jordan (18 kills, 3 total blocks) was named tournament MVP, while Rogoz was named to the All-Tournament team with 39 kills and a composite 0.389 hitting average on the day. Briana J. Stephenson ’07 dropped 9 kills on just 16 swings in the final, and Zimmerman handed out 36 assists before passing along setting duties to Morris, who connected with Jordan for a decisive kill on match point to clinch a fourth straight championship plaque for MIT.

Engineers defeat Brandeis

On Tuesday night the team continued their perfect start to the season by dispatching local rival Brandeis in straight sets in their home opener, despite sometimes struggling to find their rhythm. After winning the first two games by the scores of 30–20 and 30–23, Morris once again took over the setting reigns for the third game.

Unfortunately, the Engineers suffered some serve receiving issues that allowed Brandeis to take a lead late into the game. But the Engineers were able to regain their composure when the pressure was on, helped by the insertion of freshman outside hitter Cheryl M. Kwinn ’09 who put down a timely kill and then a service ace, allowing the team to pull ahead and finish off the Judges 30–26 to remain a perfect 4–0 on the season.

Overall, Jordan was unstoppable throughout the match, notching 18 kills and a 0.739 hitting performance. Stephenson added six kills and four total blocks, while Zimmerman, Rogoz, and Hunting added two aces each. Zimmerman notched 18 assists in two games of play while picking up 10 digs to lead the team defensively, and fellow senior Reynolds anchored the backline with her great passing and defense.

The Engineers will play their next home match on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Rockwell Cage when they open conference play against rival Wellesley College.