CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In its final home match of the regular season, the MIT women's volleyball team defeated WPI, 25-19, 25-15, 25-23, on Tuesday night. The host Engineers improved to 22-9 on the year and 6-2 in NEWMAC play while the visitors saw their ledger lower to 18-9 overall and 4-4 in conference action.
After exchanging points to start the match, MIT generated a 14-6 run which resulted in a 17-9 advantage. WPI responded by scoring eight of the next points to narrow the gap to two (19-17). Sparked by a kill from sophomore Rachel Hunt (Arlington Heights, Ill.), MIT put together a 6-2 spurt to close out the set.
In the second stanza, WPI's No. 7 Kerrin Beovich put her squad on the board but MIT's No. 7 junior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) replied with a kill of her own. Back-to-back aces from senior Cecily Joujon-Roche (Laguna Hills, Calif.) led to a string of eight unanswered points and eventually a 13-3 lead for MIT. WPI managed to cut its deficit to seven (22-15); however a pair of miscues and a strike by senior Kelly Schulte (Riverside, Calif.) wrapped up the game for the hosts.
MIT built a 14-7 advantage in the final frame, but two kills in a row from Belinda Nwagbara ignited an 11-4 run that evened the score at 18. After side-outs by both squads, MIT capitalized on a hitting error and block by Schulte and Joujon-Roche to gain some breathing room at 21-19. Each side traded points until Leonard's kill clinched the win for MIT.
Leonard tallied 10 kills, nine digs, and two aces while Joujon-Roche compiled four kills, four aces, and two blocks. Schulte posted 10 kills as Hunt added six kills and two blocks. Sophomore Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) bolstered the front row with three blocks while junior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) totaled 10 digs and an ace. Freshman Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) notched 32 assists and eight digs as senior Natasha Jensen (Columbia, Md.) had five digs and one ace.
For WPI, Nwagbara amassed 10 kills, nine digs, and a block while Joan Porambo collected 12 digs. Beovich, Bailey Sarber, and Elyssa Dorenfeld each chipped in four kills as Sarber added a block. Kim Woodward and Alex Rangel shared setting duties, dishing out 16 and eight assists, respectively.
Both squads will close out the regular season against NEWMAC foes on Saturday, Oct. 29. MIT will travel to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy while WPI will host Smith College.