Springfield, Mass. - September 11, 2018 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team bested nationally-ranked MIT in four sets in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup in Blake Arena on Tuesday night. The Pride won by the scores of 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 30-28.
The win marked the first for Springfield against MIT in Blake Arena since 2014 as the Pride improved to 8-0, 1-0 in conference play. MIT, which was ranked 18th in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, dropped to 8-1, 0-1.
Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) stuffed her stat sheet with 15 kills, one off her career high, to go along with seven digs, three blocks, and two aces. Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) put together a terrific showing in the middle, totaling 10 kills at a .450 clip while adding a team-best five blocks. Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) handed our 47 assists and chipped in 12 digs, Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) tallied nine kills and eight digs, and Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) registered 11 digs and three aces.
MIT was led by the efforts of Abby Bertics, who totaled a match-best 24 kills at a .360 clip, while Christina Liao was credited with 38 assists. Carly Staub had a team-best five blocks, and Carly Silvernale picked up 13 digs.
Springfield used tough serving to start the match and snag an early 4-1 advantage after an Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) ace, but the visitors would respond with three-consecutive points to tie things up early. Springfield would later put together a six-point burst, getting two kills from Kmetz and a pair of aces from Tovar, to gain a 14-7 advantage. The Pride's lead would grow to 21-14 when Kmetz brought the crowd to its feet by finishing off a long rally with her fifth kill of the night, but MIT would not go away quietly, battling all the way to 23-22. However, a kill from Kmetz set up Bancroft sealing the 25-22 win after she hammered a ball out of the middle.
The second set featured eight ties, before Gabrielle Bradley (Fairfax, Va.) delivered a sensational kill down the line at 12-11 to kick start a 5-1 surge that put the hosts in control at 17-12. Donnelly was critical down the stretch, coming off the bench to produce back-to-back kills off the block before Labadorf manufactured an ace for the 25-20 win. Springfield held MIT to just a .071 hitting percentage in the game, while five members of the Pride each had three kills.
MIT stormed out to a 7-3 advantage in the third as the Pride was shaky in serve receive, only to have Springfield respond with three-straight points as Bridget Walsh (Garrison, N.Y.) ripped a ball in the middle for the Pride. However, MIT started to hit its stride and put together a 9-3 surge to take control of the frame. A kill from Kait Bonsignore (St. Louis, Mo.) capped off a four-point run as the Pride got as close as 19-16, but the Engineers scored six of the last eight points to win 25-18 and earn their first set of the night.
It was a thrilling fourth set and featured 22 ties and eight lead changes as the Engineers leaned heavily on Bertics, who totaled 13 kills on 18 attempts in the stanza. However, Springfield's offense hit at a .317 clip, as Labadorf directed the Pride to 15 kills, with Donnelly and Kmetz combining for 11. Bancroft would elevate for back-to-back stuffs to make it a 20-18 game in favor of the Pride, but MIT answered back and used consecutive Bertics kills to regain a 23-22 edge. Out of a timeout, Tanner buried a ball and Bancroft and Donnelly snuffed out an Engineer swing with a huge block for match point. MIT would then fight off five match points before Kmetz broke a 28-all tie with her 15th kill and second ace of the night to complete the match.
Springfield will continue NEWMAC play on Saturday when it travels to Worcester to face WPI at 1:00 pm.
Photo by Sam Leventhal