Springfield, Mass. - September 29, 2018 - In a showdown between a pair of teams receiving votes in the latest national rankings, the Springfield College women's volleyball team rallied for a five-set win over Wellesley on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena. Set scores in favor of the Pride were 25-18, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 17-15.
Both the Pride and the Blue were among teams who picked up votes in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, as Springfield improved to 15-2, 5-0 in conference play. Wellesley suffered its first loss of the year to fall to 10-1, 4-1. It marked the third time this season that Springfield has won a conference match in five sets.
Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) totaled a team-best 15 kills at a .438 clip and Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) recorded 19 digs and 13 kills for the Pride. Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) handed out 48 assists, Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) added 14 digs, and Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, N.Y.) produced a match-best six blocks to go along with nine kills in the middle.
For the Blue, both Yasmine Reece and Nicole Doerges registered 19 kills, and Lauren Gedney recorded 16 kills to pace a Blue attack that finished the afternoon hitting .168. Meghan Shoop turned in a match-high 25 digs, Samantha Hoang added 22 digs, and Michelle Li dished out 53 assists.
The Pride jumped out to a 13-7 lead after Donnelly ripped a kill out of the back row in transition to force the visitors into a timeout as the Pride totaled six kills on its first 10 errorless attempts. The lead ballooned to 17-8 on a kill from Bancroft, and the Blue called another timeout after Tanner muscled a ball through the block at 22-14. Springfield would hit .500 in the first set and cruise to a 25-18 win, led by four kills from Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.).
Wellesley set an early tone to begin the second set, seizing an 8-4 kill following another kill by Doerges as the Pride burned its first timeout of the frame. The visitors extended their lead to 20-14, but Springfield would storm back behind the tremendous play of Bancroft, as she recorded five kills in a six-point stretch to make it a 21-20 game as the Blue called a timeout. However, Springfield could never get closer than one as Wellesley took a 25-23 win in a frame where they hit .351.
The third set featured 14 ties and five lead changes, as kills from Reece and Doerges broke a 19-all tie and made Springfield called a timeout. Out of the break, Wellesley continued to pour on the pressure, scoring three-straight points to take a commanding 24-19 lead. In a set where they totaled 17 kills, Wellesley closed out the 25-22 win following a Pride attack error to earn a 2-1 lead in the match.
Despite racing out to a 7-3 lead after a huge swing by vonKampen, Springfield allowed Wellesley right back into the match by surrendering a 6-2 burst to event things at 9-all. Springfield used a three-point surge to regain a 15-12 edge following a kill by Tanner, but the Blue battled back to make it 21-20 game as the Pride called a timeout. Kills from vonKampen and Tanner out of the break made it a 23-20 lead, and two points later, Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) had her serve clip the tape for an ace and the 25-20 win. Springfield limited the visitors to a -.079 hitting percentage in the stanza.
The fifth set was a back-and-forth affair that had 12 ties and seven lead changes and Kmetz brought the crowd to its feet with a cross court kill following the longest rally of the afternoon at 7-6 in favor of the Pride. However, Wellesley would lean on Reece as she had 16 attempts in the frame and powered her team to match point at 14-12 after she teamed with Li for a stuff block. After an attack error on the ensuing point by the Blue forced them into a timeout, Hannah Lozano (Stockton, Calif.) delivered a huge ace to even things at 14. After the teams traded points, vonKampen elevated for a monster stuff block for match point and then joined Donnelly on the pin to snuff out a Blue attack and complete the comeback.
Springfield will continue conference play on Tuesday when it hosts Smith at 7 pm.