Volleyball Falls to Springfield in NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinals

Azita Bakhtyari

Springfield, MA --- The seventh-seeded WPI volleyball team went on the road and fell 3-1 to No. 2 Springfield in a NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinal contest played Tuesday night.  The host Pride took the match by scores of 25-14, 22-25, 25-19, 25-15 between regionally-ranked squads. 

SC, ranked third in the latest NCAA Division III New England regional poll, improves to 29-2 on the season and advanced to Saturday's semifinals where it will meet third-seeded and 10th-ranked Clark at 3:30pm at MIT.  WPI, 11th in the regional poll, sees its season come to an end with a 20-8 mark, an improvement of eight wins over a year ago. 

Sophomore right side Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, CA) led the attack for Springfield with 13 kills at a .320 clip, followed by senior Kelsey McGayhey (Shelter Island, NY), who posted 12 kills, hitting .476 for the match. Junior middle blocker Lauren Holt (Granby, CT) added nine blocks, while junior Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, CT) tallied 28 out of 53 assists. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Hurwitz (Longmeadow, MA) and senior captain Kerry Purcell (Massapequa, NY) both registered a match-high 12 digs. 

For the Engineers, Kat Hurlock (Burlington, CT) and Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) finished the match with a team-best seven kills, complimented by six put aways from Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) and five from Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA). Junior Cassandra Tomerlin (La Quinta, CA) posted 12 digs for the visitors, while Shay Feeley (Franklin, MA) and Bakhtyari combined for 32 assist on the evening.

Springfield jumped out to a 16-4 advantage in the first set, powered by kills from Helgesen, Holt and Rebecca Higgins (Orchard Park, NY), before a kill from Hurlock attempted to change the momentum for the Engineers, but a put away from senior Elise Brogan (Andover, MA), followed by back-to-back kills from Hurwitz boosted the Pride's lead to 19-5. WPI was able to cut it's deficit after back-to-back aces, bringing the score to 24-12, but another Hurwitz kill sealed the first set, as the Pride dominated the frame hitting at a .550 clip. 

The second set opened with the Engineers taking and early 8-3 lead, before Springfield responded with kills from Holt and Higgins to pull to within three. Back-to-back kills from Bakhtyari and one from Helgesen brought the score to 10-6, before both teams traded points to bring the score to 22-19, WPI. Springfield cut it to a one-point defecit at 23-22, but the Engineers picked up a pair of points to close out the second set, 25-22.

After a back-and-forth battle to begin the third set, the Pride held a 16-15 advantage over WPI before a McGayhey kill jumpstarted a 5-1 run for Springfield to extend the score to 21-16. After a trio of points from the Engineers, the Pride finished the third set with kills from Helgesen and Brogan to seal the frame, 25-19.

Springfield stormed out to a 9-3 lead in the beginning of the fourth set, only to continue with a 7-0 surge that began with a McGayhey kill. The visitors attempted for one final push to bring the score to 21-11, but the Pride continued its offensive prowess with a kill from Helegesen to begin the three-point run to close out the match. 

Majority of Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information