SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield College women’s volleyball team defeated Coast Guard 3-1 on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Blake Arena. The win moves the Pride to 26-3 overall, and advances them to the final of the NEWMAC tournament, which they will play tomorrow.
Springfield took control of the opening set after a pair of Ally Townsend aces forced Coast Guard to use their first timeout, with the Pride holding an early 5-1 lead. The Bears bounced back and tied the score at 19, and with the help of three consecutive service aces, surged to a 24-19 lead. They held onto the lead to win 25-21.
Set two was a back and forth affair, with each team unable to build a lead. After being down 16-13, the Pride clawed their way back to a 20-16 lead through kills from Natalie Billet, Riley Donahue and Emily Keaveney. Two kills from Kylie Wixted finished off the frame in favor of Springfield.
Carrying over their momentum from the second set, the Pride jumped out to a quick lead in the third frame. Springfield maintained the lead and won the set 25-22, with Maeve Voltz delivering the final blow.
Coast Guard started the fourth set strong, up 8-6, until two kills from Olivia Gentry quickly erased the deficit. However a feisty Bears squad battled back, and found themselves with a 17-13 lead. With the game knotted at 23, following a Coast Guard attacking error, Maeve Voltz rose to the occasion once again, delivering a kill to win 25-23, and the match 3-1.
Springfield coach Moira Long was happy with her team’s resolute performance.
“Coast Guard is a really good team so we had to make some mix and matches that had people coming in off the bench,” Long said. “Kylie Wixted, Emily Keaveney and everybody who stepped on the floor did their job and I think that’s gritty.”
With the win, Springfield will be competing in the NEWMAC championship game for the first time in two years, and are looking to win the title that they last captured in 2013.
“It’s really exciting,” Billet said. “I think we did a good job of taking it one game at a time, and now it’s so exciting that we finally get to think about the championship game.”
Billet was a key factor in Springfield’s win, as she had one of the best games of her already productive season, recording 15 kills, 14 digs and two blocks.
“She’s been outstanding for us all year,” Long said. “She’s one of the best pin hitters in our conference and did a really good job of staying in every moment. Natalie has been fearless her entire career.”
Springfield will play in the NEWMAC finals on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Blake Arena against the winner of No.2 Babson and No.3 MIT.
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics