Women's Volleyball Sweeps Smith and Simmons

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In its first home matches of the 2012 season, the MIT women's volleyball team defeated NEWMAC rival Smith College (25-17, 25-18, 25-11) and local foe Simmons College (25-15, 25-19, 25-12) on Saturday afternoon. Earlier on, Simmons battled Smith for a 26-28, 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 15-13 victory.

MIT def. Smith College, 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-11)
Senior Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) led MIT (10-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) with a 16 kills to go along with seven digs. Junior Tatiana Berger (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) contributed 10 kills and a .571 hitting performance as classmate Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass.) totaled four kills, two aces, and two blocks. Freshman Meryl Gibbs (Bellaire, Texas) bolstered the attack with four kills while senior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) registered 18 digs and two aces. Freshman Lindsey Wang (Cupertino, Calif.) notched 10 digs and three aces as sophomore Nicole Gagnier (Atlanta, Ga.) tallied 40 assists, three aces, and two blocks.

Senior Blair Bell (Upper Montclair, N.J.) led the way for Smith (1-4, 0-2 NEWMAC) with 22 digs, five blocks, and two kills as junior Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H.) generated five blocks and three kills.

Simmons College def. Smith College, 3-2 (26-28, 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 15-13)
In the back-and-forth battle, freshman Raeann Nesta (Niantic, Conn.) amassed 17 kills, three digs, and one block to help Simmons (5-5) put away Smith in five sets. Senior Rachel Dufault (Westport, Mass.) also had a strong outing for the Sharks, racking up 45 assists, seven digs, four kills, and two blocks. Freshman Chanel Thomas (Phoenix, Ariz.) powered the defense with 21 digs while also handing out four assists.

Drummond recorded a triple-double for Smith courtesy of 22 digs, 17 kills, and 10 blocks while freshman Mei-Li Smith (Cypress, Calif.) produced 31 digs, 20 assists, three blocks, three kills, and two aces. Bell rounded out the squad with 15 digs, 11 kills, and five blocks.

MIT def. Simmons College, 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-12)
Gibbs paced MIT's balanced attack with nine kills, a .538 hitting percentage, and three aces while sophomore Jenny Astrachan (Austin, Texas) followed with eight kills and two blocks. Bunker and Leonard both posted five kills as Bunker added two blocks. Berger along with sophomore Morgan Stewart (Powell, Ohio) and freshman Ada Taylor (Durham, N.C.) each earned two blocks while Berger chipped in four kills. Spielbauer anchored the back row with 14 digs while Wang notched four digs and three aces. Gagnier compiled 26 assists, four digs, and three aces while senior Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y.) tacked on four assists in the third set.

As she did in the first match of the day for the Sharks, Nesta led Simmons with 11 kills and five blocks. Dufault continued her solid afternoon of play with 15 assists and six digs as senior Kelly Last (West Haven, Conn.) posted nine digs and two kills.

All three teams return to action on Tuesday, September 18. MIT and Smith resume NEWMAC play, with the Engineers traveling to Springfield College and Smith visiting Clark University. Simmons will host Regis College in its first GNAC match of the year. All three contests are scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.