Women’s volleyball is at 14-9 after win over Smith

Spielbauer named to All-Tournament team, Schulte named tourney MVP

The MIT women’s volleyball team faced Smith College last Tuesday. Although Smith won its first set against MIT since a 2005 sweep, the Engineers bounced back by taking the next three en route to a 21-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-12 decision in a NEWMAC women’s volleyball match on Tuesday night. MIT saw its record improve to 14-9 on the year and 4-2 in conference play while the Pioneers dipped to 1-14 overall and 0-6 in the NEWMAC.

With the score tied at eight in the first set, the Engineers established a comfortable margin courtesy of a 7-3 run. The Pioneers then responded with a 5-1 run that evened the score at 16. Both squads traded points until Smith capitalized on a pair of errors and two kills to capture the set.

The visitors carried the momentum into the second stanza as they quickly created a 7-3 advantage. MIT responded by posting eight of the next nine points, but the Pioneers continued to attack and knotted the frame at 14. Sparked by a kill and strong serving from Jenny Li ’11 (including a pair of aces), the Engineers mounted a 9-2 run to gain some breathing room. Smith narrowed the gap to 24-19 on a trio of errors, but a kill by Cecily L. Joujon-Roche ’12 thwarted any attempt at a late rally.

In the third set, MIT jumped out to a 7-3 lead which the Pioneers quickly trimmed to one (7-6). This was as close as it would get as the Engineers went on an 18-6 run to close out the game.

Smith stayed within striking distance for most of the final set, converting a pair of miscues to come within three (13-10). MIT responded by scoring 12 of the last 14 points to secure the victory.

Joujon-Roche powered the Engineers’ offense with 14 kills on 19-errorless attempts for a .737 hitting percentage. Trinity P. Leonard ’13 racked up 13 kills and 10 digs while Kelly E. Schulte ’12 tallied nine kills, four blocks, and two aces. Kristine A. Bunker ’14 bolstered the front row with seven kills, a .667 hitting percentage, and four blocks as Li finished with eight kills and two aces. Sharon S. Hao ’14 totaled 42 assists and 15 digs while Katie K. Spielbauer ’13 collected 14 digs and three aces. Natasha H. Jensen ’12 posted six digs and two aces as Jessica L. Fessler ’14 rounded out the back row with seven digs.

On Saturday, for the fifth time in six years, the MIT women’s volleyball team earned top honors at the MIT Quad Tournament. With MIT, nationally-ranked No. 25 UMass Boston, and Lebanon Valley College each compiling a 2-1 tournament ledger, sets won-lost among the tied teams determined the final rankings. The Engineers came out on top with a 7-3 mark, followed by UMass Boston (7-4), and Lebanon Valley (6-4). Bates College rounded out the field with a fourth-place finish.

MIT started the tournament off on Friday night with a 3-0 win over Bates College. Their next match was a tough fought battle against UMass Boston in which the Engineers came up short, losing 1-3. MIT followed that up with one of their biggest wins of the season beating the Lebanon Valley College 3-0 to take the tournament championship.

Spielbauer was named to the All-Tournament team for her fantastic defensive play throughout the tournament, and Schulte was named tournament MVP. The Engineers will return to conference play Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Rockwell Cage, facing Wheaton College.