Women's Volleyball Tops Amherst In Regional Showdown

Women's Volleyball Tops Amherst In Regional Showdown

Amherst, Mass. - October 26, 2016 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team earned a three-set victory in its final non-conference match of the regular season at Amherst on Wednesday evening.

Facing Amherst for the second time in a little over two weeks, the Pride won by the set scores of 25-23, 25-19, 25-20.  Springfield, which was ranked third in New England in the latest NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, improves to 25-4 on the season.  It also marks the fifth time in the six years that head coach Moira Long has been at the helm that the Pride has reached the 25-win plateau.  Amherst, which was ranked ninth in the regional rankings, dropped to 14-8. 

The Pride will play its final match of the regular season on Saturday when it travels to Wellesley for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest starting at 1 pm.

Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) led an offense that featured three players with double figures as she handed out 39 assists to go with 14 digs.  Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) led all players with13 kills at a .379 clip, while Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) totaled 12 digs and 12 kills hitting .367.  Jennifer Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) added 11 kills, Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) notched a team-best 15 digs, and Jamie Schneck (Livingston, N.J.) anchored the net with a career-high seven blocks.

Springfield took its first lead of the evening when a huge block from Kmetz and Schneck kickstarted a 3-0 burst to force Amherst into a timeout trailing 9-6.  The Pride's lead would grow to 12-7 after Amherst's fifth attack error of the early going, but the hosts battled back with a 15-5 surge to earn a 22-17 cushion.  However, the Pride closed out the set with a 8-1 burst of its own, highlighted by a pair of blocks and a kill from Schneck, before Jennifer Hurwitz (Longmeadow, Mass.) clinched the 25-23 win with an ace. 

Springfield carried that momentum into the second set, storming out to an 8-2 lead after Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) pounded a ball to force Amherst into a timeout.  A backrow kill from Donnelly pushed the visitors lead to 12-4, but Amherst held tough to climb within 18-15.  Helgesen later buried a ball to cap off a long rally at 21-16 and the Pride earned set point when Holt finished in transition.  Springfield sealed the 25-19 win when Donnelly hammered the visitors 16th kill of the set to give them a 2-0 lead. 

After falling behind 5-2 in the third, Springfield put together a 6-0 run fueled by three Holt blocks to take an 8-5 cushion. The set would ultimatley feature 11 ties, the last coming at 16 all before a pair of Helgesen kills sandwiched a Haley DeRoche (Haverhill, Mass.) ace which gave the Pride a 19-16 lead.  That was all the cushion Springfield needed and Kmetz posted her fifth kill of the set with a cross-court swing for the 25-20 win.