Volleyball Takes First Two Sets in Setback to Wheaton in NEWMAC Contest

Colleen Mullins

WORCESTER – Junior Cathryn MacGregor (North Andover, MA), freshman Julia Palomba (San Carlos, CA) and sophomore Becca Houghton (Emmaus, PA) handed in double-doubles as Wheaton came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat host WPI 3-2 (13-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-8) in a NEWMAC Women's Volleyball contest Thursday night in Harrington Auditorium.

With the win, the Lyons improve to 18-7 and 5-3 in NEWMAC matches. The Engineers (8-15, 1-7) are now 2-7 in five-setters this season.

MacGregor totaled 18 kills and 18 digs while Palomba added 11 kills and 15 digs. Houghton accumulated 40 assists and 14 digs. Senior Stephanie Martin (Centerville, MA) posted 21 digs to go with a dozen from sophomore Nikita Selivan (Lexington, MA). Palomba and MacGregor also served up three aces each.

Sophomore Colleen Mullins (Andover, MA) guided the Crimson and Gray with 12 swipes and 11 digs as junior Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) registered 36 assists and 19 digs. Senior Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA) and freshman Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA) each recorded 10 kills and junior Victoria Nassar (Salem, NH) came up with 19 digs.

The fifth set was tied at 4-4 then Wheaton went on a 4-0 run for the 8-4 lead at the court change. The hosts were able to get four more points before Palomba swung the match to a close.

WPI cruised in the first two sets, taking 4-1 and 5-0 early leads. MacGregor kept the second going with a kill, only to have Daigle finish off the frame. Wheaton enjoyed the 3-0 advantage to begin the third. The Lyons went on to take an 8-3 margin before a pair of Kwatinetz kills and a pair of miscues brought the Engineers within one. After trading the next four points, the guests went on a 4-0 run of their own to pull away for good.

The Engineers began the fourth with a pair of points; however, the Lyons countered with four, including a pair of aces by Palomba. It would be a one-point cushion as late as 6-5 before Wheaton pressed on en route to forcing the decisive set.

Both teams are competing in the Hall of Fame Classic this weekend. The Engineers take on Trinity at Smith while the Lyons face Hamilton at Amherst in their respective openers Friday at 5pm.