Women’s Volleyball Looks to Avenge ’15 NEWMAC Semis Loss, Punch Ticket to Finals

Helen Lucas

Staff Writer

 

holt_1260
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics

 

 

The Women’s Volleyball team has had a successful season, and is looking to continue its success as the Pride enter the NEWMAC Tournament in the beginning of November. The Pride go into the playoffs with an 8-1 conference record, ranking them second. The only team ranked above them in the conference is also the team that gave them their only conference loss, MIT.

MIT and Springfield share the same overall record, 24-4, however, Springfield has a hitting percentage of .244 whereas MIT has a hitting percentage of .255. The top two teams in the league have very similar statistics; MIT has on average 12.47 kills per set where Springfield has 12.94. Springfield and MIT both record 16.18 digs per set, but the Pride leads in average blocks per set with 2.36 to MIT’s 1.65. In their match up earlier this season MIT was able to get the best of Springfield by beating them 3-0.

Last seasons NEWMAC champion, Babson, is ranked third in the conference with a 6-3 record and a hitting percentage of .176. In the regular season Springfield was able to defeat Babson 3-0.

Along with Babson the Pride was able to defeat Smith, Emerson, Clark, Mount Holyoke and WPI all in 3-0 sweeps earlier this season. Springfield also beat Wheaton 3-1 and Coast Guard 3-2 in the regular season. On top of their regular season wins the Pride has also won the Stevens Invitational and Tom Hay Invitational.

Freshman Anagabrielle Sanchez and senior Lauren Holt have been big contributors to the Pride’s success this season.

Sanchez has had a successful first season by leading the team in defense, specifically in digs. She has had 502 digs in total this season, the only person in the conference who has more digs this season is Stephanie Martin of Wheaton with 547. Sanchez has been named NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Defensive Athlete of the Week three times. She was most recently named this week after she helped lead the Pride to wins over Tufts and Middlebury before falling to Williams at the New England Challenge. Sanchez was also named ECAC Division III New England Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week this past week.

Lauren Holt has been leading the team offensively, but also contributing substantially defensively. Holt started her season when she was selected to the HERO Sports Division III Preseason All-America First Team. She was one of 21 student-athletes from across the nation to be recognized, and one of seven to be named to the first team. On top of the preseason nomination she has received NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Offensive Athlete of the week. She has also received NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Week twice this season along with regional honors when she received the Eastern College Athletic Conference Corvias Division III New England Women’s Volleyball Defensive Athlete of the Week.

Holt has 155 blocks this year, which is the most of anyone in the conference. Along with the most blocks Holt has the highest hitting percentage of anyone in the conference with a .385 percent.

Going into playoffs Springfield has very similar hitting percentages and kills per set as in the 2015 season, but what they didn’t have in previous seasons was as many digs. This season they have stepped but their defense, which has now become on of the strongest parts of their team.

Last season Springfield beat Clark in the regular season 3-0 before falling to them 3-1 in the NEWMAC semifinals. Springfield went into the tournament with a 9-1 record, with their only conference loss to MIT.

The Pride has one more conference game at Wellesley before the NEWMAC championship quarterfinals on Nov 1.

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