Hunt, Bircsak and Klepper Shine as Volleyball Drops 3-1 Decision at Wellesley

Brooke Klepper

Wellesley, MA --- Wellesley College volleyball celebrated Homecoming Weekend with an exciting 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-8, 25-23) victory over WPI on Saturday afternoon at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse. The win lifts the Blue to 6-7 on the season and 3-1 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The Engineers drop to 8-4 and 2-3 in conference play. 

The difference in the match proved to be Wellesley's net play, as the Blue tallied 10 team blocks to WPI's 6.5. Meanwhile, Wellesley's middle hitters, Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, NY) and Elise Griffin (Los Altos, CA) combined for 29 kills, at a.385 clip, while holding the Engineer's middles to just eight kills and a .047 hitting percentage.

Reece led the Wellesley attack, hammering a match-high 22 kills while tallying eight block assists. Brooke Fieldman (Greenwood Village, Colo.) added nine kills and 12 digs, while Griffin chipped in seven kills on just 15 attempts. Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) anchored the Wellesley defense with 18 digs, while Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) captained the offense, amassing 42 assists in the win. 

Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) notched a double-double for WPI, with 14 kills and 17 digs to go along with three blocks and two service aces. Sam Bircsak (Acton, MA) pounded eight kills and Brooke Klepper (Miami Beach, FA) added seven. Cassandra Tomerlin (La Quinta, CA) and Ann Kaczowka (Seekonk, MA) tallied double-digit digs for Engineers, with 13 and 11, respectively.Shay Feeley (Franklin, MA) dished out 18 assists in the loss.

Wellesley opened with a 25-23 victory in the first set, unleashing 15 kills on 26 attempts to rally from an early 13-8 deficit. The Blue stayed with the Engineers throughout the late stages of the set, as the teams went back and forth from 15-15 through 23-23. Finally, Wellesley was able to string a pair of points together to gain the upper hand, as Reece and first year Ashley Peng (San Diego, CA) hammered down back-to-back kills to end the frame.

WPI countered with their own 25-23 victory in the second set to even the match. The Engineers again raced out to an early advantage, as a kill from Klepper put the visitors out in front, 11-8.  The Blue rattled off the next three points, tying the match at 11-all when sophomore Katie Yan(Cohoes, NY) put down a kill. WPI responded with a 3-0 run of their own, taking the lead for good in the second set en route to the 25-23 victory.

The third set was the only set on the day not to feature a 25-23 score line. Wellesley raced out to a 12-7 lead before scoring 13 of the next 14 points in the set to capture a commanding 25-8 victory.

The Blue led throughout much of the fourth and final set of the match, taking a 16-10 advantage following a pair of WPI errors midway through the frame. Wellesley eventually grew the lead to 18-13 before WPI responded with a 5-0 run to tie the set, at 18-all, for the first time since the teams were knotted at 2-2. Like the first set, the teams went back and forth from that point, running the score to 23-23. Wellesley once again broke the late tie, with Reece putting down the final two kills, to take the 25-23 set win and 3-1 match victory.

Wellesley returns to action Tuesday evening, when they travel to Mount Holyoke for a 7:00 pm NEWMAC match. WPI takes the court on Tuesday as well, with a 7pm non-conference match with Newbury.

Release Courtesy Wellesley Sports Information