The MIT women’s volleyball team outlasted Wellesley College for a 25-17, 26-24, 15-25, 26-28, 15-4 victory in a NEWMAC match on Tuesday night. In the Engineers’ first regular-season win over the Blue since 2009, Jennifer L. Astrachan ’15 led all players with 27 kills on a .338 hitting performance in addition to recording three aces for the Cardinal and Gray (18-2, 5-1 NEWMAC).
Megan E. Gebhard ’17 posted 15 kills as Allison A. Davanzo ’18 tallied eight kills, a .304 hitting percentage, four blocks, and two aces for MIT. Nicole C. Gagnier ’15 totaled 53 assists and four blocks while Tori L. Wuthrich ’17 amassed a match-high 23 digs to go along with two aces. Jennifer A. Glerum ’17 collected 16 digs as Clare Farley ’18 rounded out the squad with nine digs and five aces.
MIT built a 7-3 lead in the opening set but Wellesley closed to gap to 8-6. The Engineers responded with an 8-3 run; however, the hosts trimmed their deficit to 17-13. MIT countered with a 7-2 run, reaching set point on a kill by Gebhard. An error and a kill kept the Blue alive but another strike from Gebhard capped off the set.
Trailing 6-1 in the second stanza, Wellesley rattled off the next five points. A trio of hitting miscues along with a kill from Gebhard gave the Engineers some breathing room at 10-6. The Blue responded with a 10-2 run that was fueled by strong blocking as it went in front, 16-12. MIT battled back as two Farley aces tied the score at 16 and resulted in a Wellesley timeout. Following the break, the hosts won the next three points and eventually held a 24-20 lead. The Engineers replied by claiming six straight points to complete the come-from-behind victory.
The Blue raced out to a 17-6 advantage in the third set and maintained a comfortable cushion throughout the frame. MIT trimmed the deficit to seven on three occasions, the last at 22-15. Wellesley capitalized on two errors and an ace to capture the win.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair as it featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. With the score tied at 14, the Blue put together a 5-2 spurt for its largest lead of the frame. An exchange of points ensued until a kill from Davanzo and an ace by Farley brought the Engineers within one (21-20). After its own timeout, Wellesley produced back-to-back kills which prompted MIT to call a timeout. Once action resumed, Astrachan tallied three kills as Meryl E. Gibbs ’16 added one of her own to put the Engineers ahead, 24-23. A block and a kill extended the set for the Blue but an Astrachan strike coupled with a hitting error kept MIT in front. Wellesley responded with three kills in a row to force the decisive final set.
The Engineers picked up the first five points of the fifth set and later held an 8-1 lead at the changeover. After switching sides, MIT outscored the Blue, 7-3, as an Astrachan kill ended the night.
MIT continues NEWMAC play on Thursday, Oct. 9 when it hosts Wheaton College.