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On the strength of a team hitting percentage of .393, the MIT women’s volleyball team defeated the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 25-14, 25-13, 25-18, in a NEWMAC match on Saturday, November 1. With the win, the Engineers (26-4, 9-1 NEWMAC) clinched the top seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament and will host the semifinals and championship on Saturday, Nov. 8-9. Despite the setback, the Bears (20-9, 7-3 NEWMAC) secured a spot in the quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Coast Guard jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening frame courtesy of an ace by Susan West but MIT responded with a 16-4 run to go ahead for good at 17-8. The Bears put together a four-point spurt; however, this was as close as it would get as the Engineers ended the frame by scoring eight of the last 10 points.

The Cardinal and Gray carried the momentum into the second stanza as it raced out to a 9-1 advantage that eventually grew to 17-5 on an ace by Jennifer L. Astrachan ’15. An exchange of points ensued, moving the score to 23-10 courtesy of a kill by MIT Nicole C. Gagnier ’15. Coast Guard replied with a kill by Summer Adams, an ace from Ashley Dumont, and a strike by West to extend the frame; however, the late rally was thwarted by kills from Meryl E. Gibbs ’16 and Astrachan.

The Engineers quickly established a 9-2 margin in the final set; however, the visitors battled back to come within three (15-12). Adams was a factor in the Bears’ last four points of the run as she recorded three kills and collaborated with West on a block. After its own timeout, MIT mounted a 9-3 run, reaching match point on an Astrachan kill. A serving error kept Coast Guard alive before Dumont and Michelle Hernandez teamed up for a block. A kill by Dumont added to the Bears’ comeback attempt but Astrachan closed the match with a strike of her own.

Astrachan and Megan E. Gebhard ’17 both generated 14 kills while Gibbs finished with 10 kills. Allison A. Davanzo ’18 posted six kills, two blocks, and an ace as Jennifer A, Glerum ’17 recorded six digs and five kills. Gagnier totaled 41 assists and 12 digs while Tori L. Wuthrich ’17 collected a team-high 13 digs. Clare Farley ’18 and Lisette G. Tellez ’18 rounded out the back row with nine and five digs, respectively.

West compiled nine kills, six digs, and two blocks for Coast Guard while Adams registered seven kills and a .300 hitting performance. Dumont notched seven kills and two blocks as Hernandez compiled 21 assists and seven digs. Michelle McGill led all players with 16 digs while Madison Scott chipped in two blocks.