By: Jon Santer
Assistant Sports Editor
Despite great efforts from senior Mary Consol (11 kills, 4 blocks) and junior Tessa Smolinski (12 kills, 24 digs), the Springfield College Women’s Volleyball team fell to MIT Saturday afternoon in the NEWMAC semi-finals hosted at Wellesley College. The loss brings the Pride to an overall record of 26-7. MIT will face top seed Wellesley Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m to decide the NEWMAC Champion
“I think we did a good job,” said Springfield coach Moira Long proudly. “We struggled blocking. MIT did an awesome job with their offense. They ran a slide so we really had a hard time blocking it. I couldn’t be more proud of our players we have overcome a lot of things this season and the fact that they come together makes me really proud of them.”
The Pride started the match off strong, taking an early 10-3 lead. However, impressive serving from junior Sharon Hao led to a seven point rally for the Engineers, surpassing Springfield, making the score 22-20. Springfield evened the score at 22-22 but could not keep the momentum going. The game went back and forth with the Engineers finally pulling out the first set victory 29-27.
The second set was much of the same story. MIT got out to a quick 3-0 advantage, but it took Springfield until 14-14 to even the score. At that point, Consol took over. The senior scored three straight points off of two blocks and a kill, to give her team a 21-20 advantage.
Mary has been awesome for us all year,” said Long of her senior middle blocker. “Last year she was really a defensive player for us and this year she really had to up her game offensively and she really kind of took on that challenge so we are really happy with her. There is such great leadership with both her and Sonya (Mickiewicz), I’m just really happy what they have brought to our team.
Just as Consol did, MIT freshman Ada Taylor strung together two points of her own at the set’s end and the Engineers took set two 25-21.
Facing defeat, the Pride came into the third set with fire. A five point rally put Springfield up 10-4 early on, led by Smolinski. The two sides went back and forth until freshman Kerry Purcell strung together three of the final four kills, leading the Pride to a 25-18 third set victory.
Just as Springfield did in the previous set, MIT came into the fourth game motivated. MIT junior middle hitter Kristine Bunker had five of her 16 kills in the final set, aiding the MIT Engineers to victory. Despite another great effort from Smolinski, Consol and freshman Daniella Crismani (10 kills, 17 kills), the Engineers proved to have too much firepower down the stretch.