Cambridge, Mass. - September 17, 2019 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team opened up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday night and dropped a five-set match to MIT in Rockwell Cage. The Engineers prevailed by the scores of 25-19, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10.
After beating MIT in five sets in Blake Arena last season as part of a year where it claimed the NEWMAC regular-season title, Springfield slipped to 8-3, 0-1 in conference play, while MIT improved to 10-2, 1-0.
Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.), who entered the match ranked No. 2 in Division III women's volleyball in hitting percentage, totaled a team-best 13 kills at a .458 clip, while fellow middle Bridget Walsh (Garrison, N.Y.) delivered 12 kills and a career-best eight blocks. Demi Spanos (West Harrison, N.Y.) added 10 kills, nine digs, three blocks, and two aces, and Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.Y.) handed out 30 assists and chipped in 11 digs.
Springfield couldn't have asked for a better start to the match, as Walsh and Gabrielle Bradley (Fairfax, Va.) combined for a block to give the visitors a 7-1 edge. The Engineers answered with an 8-1 push of their own to regain an 11-8 cushion and would push their lead to 19-14 on an ace. The Pride would get no closer than three as MIT coasted to the 25-19 win.
The Pride had its best offensive showing in the second set, totaling 14 kills and hitting .393 as a team, and used another fast start to take a 5-2 edge on an ace by Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.). After pushing its lead to 13-7 on an ace from Walsh, Springfield would give up a 14-6 run from MIT to find themselves facing a 21-19 deficit. Coming out of a timeout, Walsh converted for three-straight kills to fuel a 6-2 burst which gave Springfield the 25-23 win.
In the third, Springfield racked up 15 kills and hit .256 and was in total control with a 20-8 lead in the final stages of the frame. However, MIT pulled the momentum back in the match by virtue of a 14-4 run to make it a two-point game before Bancroft gave the Pride a 2-1 lead in the match with a kill in the middle for the 25-22 win.
The Pride combined for just nine kills in the fourth and fifth sets, and struggled offensively in the fourth as it hit -.087. Springfield used a 7-1 run early in the fourth set to take an 11-8 lead after Spanos ripped ace ace, but MIT would regroup with a 10-3 push of their own by taking advantage of five Springfield miscues. The match would go to a fifth set following the Pride's seventh attack error of the set for the 25-20 win.
Springfield fell behind 8-4 in the fifth and never found its rhythm as MIT earned the win, delivering their 12th ace of the night on match point for the 15-10 victory.
Springfield will play at home for the first time since August 31 when it hosts St. Lawrence at 6:30 on Friday night.
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