Cambridge, Mass. - October 19, 2019 - The Springfield College suffered non-conference setbacks to Middlebury and Williams on Saturday in the New England Challenge, which was held at MIT's Rockwell Cage.
The losses dropped the Pride's record to 16-9 on the year.
On Tuesday night, Springfield will return to New England Women's and Men's Atheltic Conference (NEWMAC) play when it hosts Babson at 7 pm in a rematch of last year's conference championship.
Middlebury 3, Springfield 0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-22)
After falling to nationally-ranked Tufts in straight sets on Friday evening, the loss to Middlebury marked the first time this season that Springfield lost consecutive matches in three sets. Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) led the Pride with seven kills and Claire Dorr (Massapequa, N.Y.) registered a career-high 15 digs. Mackenzie Nunes (The Woodlands, Texas) handed out 16 assists and totaled 13 digs and Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) was credited with seven digs and a pair of service aces.
Middlebury got off to a strong start to begin the match, seizing a 12-5 lead in the opening set. Despite trailing by as many as nine points at 23-14, Springfield rattled off five-straight points to pull within 22-19 following a kill from Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, N.Y.). However, the Panthers would hold on for the 25-21 win as they totaled 15 kills as a team and limited the Pride to a .089 hitting percentage.
The Pride's offense struggled in the second set, hitting at a -.031 clip. A five-point burst in the early going allowed Middlebury to gain a 7-2 edge and Springfield would get no closer than three points in the 25-17 loss.
A kill from vonKampen put Springfield on top in the third, 8-5, and the score would be knotted at 16 following a big swing from Demi Spanos (West Harrison, N.Y.). However, the Panthers would score the next two points to get the breathing room it would need as it completed the win with a 25-22 third-set victory.
Williams 3, Springfield 2 (16-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14)
Four players for the Pride reached double-digit kills in the five-set loss to Williams, with Demi Spanos (West Harrison, N.Y.) leading the charge with 18 kills and 13 digs. Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, N.Y.) produced 15 kills and three blocks, Gabrielle Bradley (Fairfax, Va.) registered 14 digs, 13 kills, and four blocks, and Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) contributed 11 kills. Anagabrielle Sanchez (Cagaus, Puerto Rico) totaled a match-best 22 digs and Mackenzie Nunes (The Woodlands, Texas) had 50 assists and 18 digs in leading a Springfield offense to a .219 hitting percentage and 62 kills.
Springfield put together a fantastic first set offensively, notching 17 kills at a .517 team hitting percentage. Tied at 10 in the early going, the Pride used a 10-4 run capped off by a kill from Bradley to gain a 20-14 lead. The Pride would later close out the frame with a 5-2 burst following Bradley's fifth kill of the set, which gave the Pride the 25-16 win.
The Ephs rattled off five-straight points to gain a 19-12 cushion in the second, but Springfield answered back with a 4-0 surge of their own to pull within 19-16. However, the Pride would get no closer than three points as the Ephs evened the match up with a 25-21 win.
Trailing 15-13 in the third, Springfield manufactured seven-straight points, fueled by a pair of kills from Spanos, to open up a 20-15 lead. Williams would battle back to within 22-20 before Springfield produced the final three points of the set to take a 25-20 win, and 2-1 lead in the match.
Tanner ripped a kill to give the Pride a 17-16 edge in the fourth, but it was Williams that benefitted from a late run, as a 7-1 push resulted in the Ephs gaining a 23-18 lead. Williams would take the fourth, 25-21, and force a fifth set.
Williams never trailed in the fifth set and earned match point at 14-11 after a Pride service error. vonKampen would respond with a key side-out kill that kicked off a three-point run which knotted things at 14-all following an ace by Tanner. However, Williams would seal the win with back-to-back kills to complete the 16-14 triumph.
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