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Women’s Volleyball Team Wins Parents’ Weekend Tournament

By Charles Morton

Frances M. Rogoz ’07 hit around an imposing pair of blockers to score her team-high 16th kill from an impossible angle to lift the MIT Women’s Volleyball team to a 3-2 victory over Colby-Sawyer College in the final match of their Parents’ Weekend Quad Tournament on Saturday.

The Engineers (22-5, 6-0 NEWMAC) clinched their second home tournament championship of the season, picking up valuable experience ahead of a crucial Tuesday night conference match at Springfield College.

Caroline D. Jordan ’06 earned Tournament MVP honors after finishing the day as the team’s leader in kills (33) and points scored (44.5), while also offering one of her finest defensive performances of the season in the deciding match with 7 total blocks and 16 digs.

Briana J. Stephenson ’07 picked up her first career All-Tournament selection with 29 kills and 11 total blocks on the day, including an error-free 7 for 15 performance in a 3-0 sweep of Mt. Ida and 10 kills and 4 blocks in a 3-0 win over Emmanuel.

Tech finished an undefeated day against three conference leaders with their first fifth-set win of the season. (Each of the team’s five defeats have come in five-game matches.) The Engineers broke the streak in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 2-0 deficit after having been thoroughly outplayed by the Chargers in the first two games.

In a potential NCAA Regionals preview, Colby-Sawyer (18-7, 5-0 Commonwealth Coast Conference) looked the better of the two teams in the opening frame, registering a 30-26 victory behind four team blocks and equally tenacious back-row defense. Only Alexandra N. Huston-Carico ’08 was efficient on offense for MIT, scoring three times on six swings.

The Engineers, expecting to build on some late-game momentum, instead were even less potent in the second game, as Colby-Sawyer registered seven blocks to hand MIT their most lopsided single-game defeat of the season, 30-16.

Facing the dual challenge of being forced to avoid an embarrassing home court rout and needing to find a way to win in five sets for the first time, Tech responded with their three seniors setting the example on defense. They scraped together a 30-25 win.

Austin Zimmerman ’06 and Arlis A. Reynolds ’06 combined for 10 digs, and Jordan offered the Chargers a taste of their own medicine, with four total blocks and four digs. Huston-Carico was also a force at the net, picking up three of her seven blocks for the match. Rogoz, Stephenson, and Huston-Carico each scored three times on offense as MIT was able to recover some fluidity in their attack against their toughest opponent in two weeks.

It was in game four that Tech was able to enjoy momentum and build rhythm. Jordan went 7 for 14 without an error, and Reynolds picked up 10 digs as the Engineers cruised to a 30-19 win. Rogoz chipped in three kills, a pair of blocks, and five of her career-high 16 digs. Lindsay E. Hunting ’09 scored twice from the service line and had three digs.

Winning the coin toss and electing to receive, MIT took the first sideout of game five and Carrie C. Buchanan ’08 scored on an ace to give Tech a 3-1 lead against a shell-shocked Charger squad trying to recover the front-court dominance they had enjoyed earlier in the match. Hunting extended the lead to 6-3 on her turn at the service line as Stephenson and Zimmerman each scored on blocks, and MIT led 8–5 at the side change. Rogoz extended that lead to 10-5, interrupting the Colby-Sawyer offense with deep float serves.

The Chargers drew to within two points on a pair of Engineer hitting errors, forcing a rare time out call by head coach Paul Dill, and tied the match at 12-12 soon thereafter. Undaunted, the Engineers displayed a consistency and poise that they had lacked in earlier fifth-set showdowns this season, recovering on Reynolds’ serve to pick up a match point at 14-12.

The Chargers called a time out and came back to spoil the first attempt and draw within one. But on the ensuing possession, Rogoz’s remarkable cut shot from Zimmerman (46 assists for the match) clinched the win. Rogoz led the Engineers with four digs in the final game, while Reynolds added three to finish with her fourth 30-dig performance of the season.

In earlier Saturday action, Amanda J. Morris ’08 led the Tech offense to a season high .410 team hitting performance against the Mustangs of Mt. Ida (13-5, 6-0 North Atlantic Conference), dishing out 33 assists on just 62 attempts. Jordan, Stephenson, and Ellen E. Sojka ’08 each scored seven times, and Tech continued to outclass opponents on serves, registering 15 aces against Mt. Ida’s pair.

Morris also picked up 32 assists in the sweep of Emmanuel (12-14, 6-0 Great Northeast Athletic Conference), finishing the day with over 40 percent of her sets resulting in Engineer kills. Jordan (14 kills), Stephenson (ten), and Rose Zhong ’08 (nine) were Morris’ favorite targets, but MIT hit only .275 against the Saints after having posted a .406 mark earlier this season during a 3-0 sweep in MIT Invitational pool play. Reynolds led the way with 19 digs, with Morris and Jordan also reaching double digits with 13 and 10, respectively.

The Engineers’ next home contest will be Tuesday, Oct. 25 against NEWMAC rival Smith College at 7 p.m. in Rockwell Cage.