Springfield, MA --- Led by the duo of Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, CA) and Lauren Holt (Granby, CT), the Springfield College women's volleyball team bested visiting WPI in straight sets on Tuesday evening in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action in Blake Arena. Springfield won by the set scores of 25-14, 25-17, 25-19.
Winners of 14-straight matches, the Pride improved to 23-2, 8-1 in league play. Springfield continued to receive votes in today's AVCA National Coaches Poll, one of only two teams in the region. WPI, which entered the match winners of their last six contests, dropped to 16-6, 4-4.
The Pride, which own the nation's top hitting percentage in Division III, hit .382 in the victory. Helgesen led all players as she tied a career high with 14 kills and five blocks, while Holt produced 12 kills at a .474 clip to go along with six blocks. Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, CT) and Molly Giannattasio (East Lyme, CT) combined for 39 assists, and Jennifer Hurwitz (Longmeadow, MA) recorded a match-best 12 digs.
WPI was limited to a .062 hitting percentage in the match, despite nine kills from Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA). Both Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) and Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) had five kills, and Shay Feeley (Franklin, MA) was credited with 14 assists.
The visiting Engineers used tough serving to begin the match and earned a 4-0 advantage. However, Holt changed the momentum for the Pride, producing four kills, two aces, and a block to fuel a 12-3 run that forced WPI into a timeout. Springfield, which totaled 17 kills in the frame, went on to lean by as many as 12, with Holt hammering her seventh kill of the night for the 25-14 win.
After WPI cut Springfield's lead to 12-11 in the second set, the hosts put together a 9-2 surge to take a commanding 21-13 lead that it would not relinquish. Helgesen was dominant in the stanza, delivering five kills and three blocks.
Springfield stormed out to a 10-2 lead to begin in the third set as it notched eight kills on its first nine swings. The Engineers battled within 16-12 on a Hunt service ace, only to have the Pride respond with a 5-2 burst capped off by another kill from Helgesen, ot make it a 21-14 contest. The visitors put together one final surge, forcing Springfield into a timeout at 22-19, but a service error and kills from Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, NY)and Holt sealed the win.
WPI hosts Pine Manor Thursday night at 7pm. Springfield will compete in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Invitational this weekend, taking on Trinity, Wesleyan, and Hamilton beginning on Friday evening.
Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information