Volleyball Edged by Springfield in Five-Set Heartbreaker on the Road

Melissa Daigle

Springfield, MA --- The Springfield College women's volleyball team battled to a five-set win over visiting WPI in NEWMAC action on Saturday in venerable Blake Arena.  The Pride prevailed by the scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12.

Springfield picked up its third five-set win of the year to improve to 9-2, 1-1 in NEWMAC play, while the Engineers dropped to 3-6, 0-2. 

Jen Donnelly (Exeter, RI) registered 17 kills, 20 digs, and four blocks to pace Springfield in the win, while Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, NY) totaled 14 kills and four blocks.  Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) recorded a match-high 31 digs, Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, NY) notched seven blocks, Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, CA) had her strongest match of the season with 12 kills and three blocks.  Kayley Cimino (Cumberland, ME) had 32 of Springfield's 58 assists, and Hannah Lozano (Stockton, CA) totaled four of Springfield's 14 service aces.

Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) had 17 kills and 17 digs for the Engineers, Victoria Nassar (Salem, NH) was credited with 24 digs, and Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) totaled 50 assists and 23 digs in the setback. Amanda Wetmore (Hudson, NH) added 12 kills, followed by Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA) with 11 and Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA) with 10. 

The Pride opened up the match earning a 10-6 lead following a WPI miscue, only to have the Engineers take their first lead of the afternoon at 17-16 thanks to a Springfield attack error.  In a frame that featued 10 ties, the last coming at 19-all, WPI broke away with a 5-2 surge and snagged the 25-23 win after Hunt's sixth kill of the frame. 

Trailing 5-4 in the second, Springfield surged ahead with a 9-4 burst that featured four kills from Helgesen and was capped off by an ace from Cimino as WPI burned a timeout trailing 13-7.  Springfield's lead would grow to 18-11 on a block by Kmetz and Bridget Walsh (Garrison, NY), and Hannah Andres (Barnstable, MA) delivered Springfield's 16th kill of the set for the 25-20 win.

Two early aces from Lozano allowed the Pride to race out to a 7-2 lead in the third set, but Springfield would eventually burn its final timeout of the frame after an ace by Hunt put the visitors ahead, 16-15.  After falling behind 19-16, Springfield manufactured a 7-1 surge that was capped off by another Ciminio ace.  WPI fought off one set point before vonKampen gave the Pride a 2-1 lead after the 25-23 victory.

After surrendering the first four points of the fourth set, Springfield would take its only lead of the game at 11-10 on a kill from Walsh. The Engineers responded with a 6-0 run and never looked back as it totaled 18 kills at a .311 clip to win 25-15 and force a fifth and final set.

WPI scored the first two points of the fifth set, but Springfield rallied back right back with six-straight points, including a pair of kills from Kmetz.  WPI responded with a 6-1 run of their own to retake the lead, and held a 12-10 cushion following Hunt's 17th kill of the night.  However, a gritty defensive effort on the ensuing point resulted in a thunderous block by Kmetz and vonKampen, and following another WPI attack error, the visitors burned a timeout knotted at 12.  Out of the break, Donnelly and vonKampen produced another huge stuff and Donnelly wrapped up the match with back-to-back kills to give the Pride the win. 

Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information