MIT Takes Second Place at Tufts Invitational

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Although both MIT and Tufts went undefeated this past weekend at the Tufts University Women’s Volleyball Invitational, the host Jumbos came away with the crown based on tie-breaking procedures. Tufts dropped only one set during the tournament while the Engineers (16-4) surrendered a pair in four matches. Barden Cleeland represented the Cardinal and Gray on the All-Tournament Team.

MIT opened Friday’s play with a 25-14, 25-15, 25-20 win over Bridgewater State College. Cleeland paced the balanced attack with eight kills and a .700 hitting percentage in two sets. Alex May put up five kills and a .625 hitting performance in the first set as Kelly Schulte registered five kills, three blocks, and three aces. Jenny Li chipped in a team-high four blocks to go along with five kills while Katrina Ellison notched three blocks. Kelsey Cappelle led the defense with 10 digs as Kate Kelly collected eight of her own. Alyssa Rothman dished out 24 assists while Cathy Melnikow earned five aces.

The Engineers recorded a .418 team hitting percentage in its 25-15, 25-19, 25-10 decision against SUNY Potsdam. Li led another balanced offensive outing with seven kills, followed by six from Trinity Leonard. Schulte, Cappelle, and Cleeland each posted five kills as Rothman distributed 25 assists. For the second match in a row, MIT totaled 15 aces with Natasha Jensen pacing the squad with five while Melnikow added three aces. Anna Dikina collected a team-best seven digs as Spielbauer and Kelly registered six and four respectively.

MIT outlasted Hiram College, 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-10, on Saturday. Spielbauer amassed 26 digs while May tallied 19 digs, 16 kills, and three blocks. Cleeland totaled 13 kills and six blocks as Schulte racked up 11 kills, a .348 hitting percentage, and five blocks. Li contributed 10 kills while Rothman recorded 49 assists. Ellison earned four blocks and the Engineers’ lone ace.

The Cardinal and Gray closed the weekend with a 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 sweep of Union College. Schulte registered eight kills, a .438 hitting percentage, four blocks, and three aces as May posted a team-high nine kills. Ellison notched eight kills while Cleeland added six. Rothman and Dikina both served four aces while Rothman accumulated 33 assists. Spielbauer was responsible for 15 of MIT’s 35 digs.