Mount Holyoke Stuns Volleyball in Five Set NEWMAC Triumph

Melissa Daigle

WORCESTER – Mount Holyoke sophomore Sasha Simine (Kitchener, Ontario) led all student athletes with 15 kills, a .412 attack percentage and five aces to go with five block assists as the Lyons came from behind to defeat host WPI, 3-2 (9-25, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-4), in a NEWMAC Women's Volleyball matchup Tuesday night in the Sports & Recreation Center.

Mount Holyoke (5-5, 1-4) earns its first NEWMAC win since a 3-0 decision at Smith on October 28, 2014 and first versus the Engineers (4-9, 1-4) since a 3-1 triumph on November 2, 2013.

Senior Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA) led WPI with 10 kills and freshman Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA) added nine. Junior Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) handed out 22 assists and freshman Julia DeLo (Tulsa, OK) chipped in with 11. Bahktyari (15) also registered double-digit digs, as did juniors Victoria Nassar (Salem, NH) with 15 and Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) with a dozen. Senior Brooke Klepper (Miami Beach, FL) was in on five blocks for the Crimson and Gray.

Rookie Brayden Walden (McKinney, TX) and junior Cameron Graham (Sarasota, FL) had accounted for the most assists (35) and digs (29), respectively. Junior Sarah Caggiano (Leonardtown, MD) totaled 10 swipes while classmate Isabell Linde (Red Bank, NJ) added 14 digs and Walden posted 12.

WPI had already reached 18 points in the first set when a service miscue provided MHC with its ninth point. Daigle then provided a pair of kills during the Engineers set-winning spurt.

Trailing 9-8 in the second, the Engineers evened it up thanks to a miscue. Hunt served up an ace and Klepper smashed a kill during a 7-0 run as the Crimson and Gray went on to claim the 2-0 advantage.

After senior Kat Hurlock (Burlington, CT) tied up the third at 4-4, the Lyons rattled off 10 in-a-row behind four aces by Simine and two kills by Caggiano to distance themselves from the hosts and en route to making it a 2-1 match.

Mount Holyoke forced the fifth set with a 5-1 run late in the frame that included three WPI miscues and a pair of swipes by Simine to reach set point. WPI was able to prolong the set with a Daigle kill following an Engineer miscue; however, a kill by Walden secured the set for MHC.

The deciding set was tied at 2-2 before the Lyons made it 8-3 at the court change and extended the lead to 11-3. Daigle interrupted the outburst with a kill only to see MHC take the final four points of the night.

WPI heads to Salve Regina Thursday for a 7pm first serve. Mount Holyoke travels to MIT for a noon start on Saturday.