In a hard-fought battle, No. 4 seeded MIT emerged with a 25-19, 18-25, 25-16, 25-22 victory over No. 5 WPI in a NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament quarterfinal match on Tuesday night. MIT improved to 23-10 on the season and for the second year in a row, it will face host and top seed Springfield College on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1:00 p.m. Visiting WPI finished its campaign with a record of 19-10.
With the first set tied at five, MIT mounted an 8-2 run to take the lead for good. WPI countered by scoring 7 of the next 10 points, trimming its deficit to 16-14. A kill from Trinity P. Leonard ’13 and a hitting error gave MIT some breathing room; however, WPI narrowed the gap to three on a trio of occasions, the last at 22-19. Strikes by Kristine A. Bunker ’14 sandwiched an ace by classmate Sharon S. Hao ’14 to end the frame. WPI quickly established a 6-2 advantage in the second stanza, but MIT battled back and captured a 10-8 edge on a kill by Rachel Hunt ’14 and an ace from Katie K. Spielbauer ’13. WPI’s Elyssa Dorenfeld replied with a kill and ace of her own before MIT posted a 5-2 spurt to go up, 15-12. The visitors then generated a 13-3 run to close the game and even the match at one set apiece. Like the previous set, WPI had a 6-2 lead and the host Engineers chipped away at the deficit, eventually going ahead 11-10. After a WPI timeout, both squads traded points until MIT put together a 10-1 run to take control of the set at 23-14. WPI posted the next two points, but MIT took the next two for the win.
In the final frame, WPI held a 6-4 edge, which was erased by five unanswered points from MIT. Miscues by the Engineers kept WPI within two points; however, a pair of aces from Natasha H. Jensen ’12 and a kill from Hunt increased MIT’s cushion to 16-10 and forced a timeout. Following the break, WPI picked up points in bunches and once again found itself trailing by two (20-18). After its own timeout, MIT scored four of the next five points with back-to-back kills from Bunker resulting in match point. WPI responded with a Kim Woodward kill and two aces from Bailey Sarber, extending the contest and prompting another MIT timeout. Once play resumed, Leonard pounded a kill to secure the victory.
Kelly E. Schulte ’12 posted 16 kills and four digs while Bunker finished with eight kills and four blocks. Leonard tallied seven kills, six digs, and three aces as Cecily L. Joujon-Roche ’12 registered five kills, two blocks, and an ace. Hunt rounded out the attack with six kills while Spielbauer collected 18 digs and one ace. Jensen notched five aces and three digs while sophomore Jessica L. Fessler ’14 tacked on four digs. Alyssa L. Rothman ’13 totaled 27 assists and two blocks as Nicole C. Gagnier ’15 dished out 10 assists.