Women's Volleyball Claims Four-Set NEWMAC Road Win at Wheaton

Casey Hunt and Sarah Kwatinetz smiling

Norton, MA --- Senior Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) notched a double-double while two more Engineers narrowly missed one of their own as the WPI women's volleyball team downed host Wheaton, 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15) in a NEWMAC matchup Tuesday night in Emerson Gymnasium. 

The Engineers up their record to 19-4 and the Lyons dip to 21-4 on the season. Both teams, who are back in action this weekend at the Hall of Fame Tournament hosted by Smith and Amherst, are tied for fifth in the conference standings with 5-3 ledgers. WPI takes on Trinity Friday at 5pm in Smith's Scott Gymnasium and Wheaton faces Hamilton at 7pm at Amherst.

Wheaton was paced by a team-high nine kills from first-year Adara Hamilton (Mercer Island, WA) and senior Claire Cansler (Newhall, CA). Cansler also added a team-high nine blocks to go with her nine kills. Junior Becca Houghton (Emmaus, PA) moved 31 assists closer to 2,500 career assists. The setter currently has 2,446 career assists, which ranks her fourth all-time at Wheaton. Sophomore Maggie Shafer (Pewaukee, WI) led the Lyons with 18 digs, while Hamilton pulled up 17 balls. 

The Engineers were led by a match-high 13 kills from sophomore Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA, who ended the night with a match-best 13 kills and a .423 attacking percentage. Bakhyari ended the match with 39 assists and 14 digs, while senior Victoria Nassar (Atkinson, NH) led all players with 19 digs for WPI. Senior Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) totaled 15 digs and nine kills while junior Colleen Mullins (Andover, MA) delivered 10 digs and eight kills.

The opening set started with 10 score ties and six lead changes before the Engineers took control with a Kwantentz kill breaking a 13-13 deadlock. The point sparked a 6-0 run from the Engineers, which put them ahead 19-13. Four straight WPI errors allowed Wheaton to pull within two points, 19-17. Wheaton would only manage one more point in the set with sophomore Casey Dinga (Windham, NH) putting down a Houghton pass. The Engineers closed out the set with kills from Mullins and Hunt, as well as a Wheaton error, taking the set 25-18. 

The Engineers raced to a 9-4 lead following a kill from Mullins. Wheaton slowly chipped away at the deficit and on a strong serve from Shafer, the Lyons were able to capture a 22-20 advantage. Wheaton took the set after getting a kill from Dinga and back-to-back aces from sophomore Sabrina Buxeda (Carolina, Puerto Rico)

WPI recorded the first five points of the third set, before pushing its advantage to 16-5. Wheaton tried to find a way back into the set, pulling within seven on a kill from junior Cat MacGregor (North Andover, MA) but that would be as close as the Lyons would get. 

The fourth set once again saw the Engineers take a commanding lead at the start, opening with an 8-3 advantage. A string of Wheaton errors allowed WPI to take an 18-8 lead. Wheaton was able to stifle the Engineers momentum by forcing back-to-back errors that pulled the Lyons within seven points, 19-12. The Engineers were able to do just enough down the stretch to take the set and the match. 

Majority Release Courtesy Wheaton Sports Information