Strong Start Not Enough as Volleyball Comes Up Short at Nationally-Ranked MIT

Strong Start Not Enough as Volleyball Comes Up Short at Nationally-Ranked MIT

Cambridge, MA --- In the NEWMAC women's volleyball regular-season finale for both teams, nationally-ranked No. 25 MIT defeated WPI, 3-1 (27-29, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13), on Saturday afternoon. In the victory, MIT senior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, WA) became the 16th player in program history to reach 1,000 digs while the team amassed 17 blocks, just one shy of tying the Institute record for blocks in a match.

The host Engineers (24-4, 9-1 NEWMAC) will be the #2 seed in the NEWMAC tournament and will host seventh-seeded Wheaton while Worcester's Engineers (21-7, 6-4 NEWMAC) are the #5 seed and will travel to fourth-seeded Wellesley. Both first round matches are set for Tuesday at 7pm. 

The opening frame featured 15 ties and 10 lead changes. Trailing 18-15, a serving error and back-to-back aces from sophomore Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle. WA) kicked off a run that eventually gave WPI a 24-22 edge. Two kills by senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, CA) in addition to a block with junior Shea Landeene (Phoenix, AZ) gave MIT a 25-24 edge. WPI capitalized on a kill by senior Casey Hunt (Granby, CT) and an MIT hitting error to go back in front. An exchange of points followed until WPI used a kill from junior Colleen Mullins (Andover, MA) and a hitting error to capture the 29-27 win.

MIT jumped out to an 8-3 lead and maintained a small cushion en route to a 25-16 win in the second set. The hosts gradually built a 17-9 advantage, but WPI battled back, coming within 23-22 after a ball-handling error. Following an MIT timeout, Bertics recorded a pair of kills to thwart the comeback attempt. MIT established a 15-9 lead in the fourth, which prompted a timeout by WPI. Once action resumed, MIT outscored WPI, 10-4, to wrap up the match.

Silvernale collected 20 digs as senior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) racked up eight blocks. Bertics finished with 15 kills, nine digs, six blocks, and two aces while junior Alexis Groark (Elwood, NY) posted a team-high 16 kills to go along with three blocks. Senior Christina Liao (Warren, NJ) distributed 45 assists as freshman Hannah Grupe (Oakwood, OH) produced eight kills and five blocks. Junior Madison Lee (Hillsborough, CA) and freshman Margaret Wang (Rockville, MD) bolstered MIT's defense with 10 and nine digs, respectively.

Mullins led all players with 17 kills and chipped in nine digs while Hunt registered nine kills and eight digs. Senior Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) tallied 32 assists and 17 digs as sophomore Amanda Wetmore (Hudson, NH) notched four blocks for WPI.

Release Courtesy MIT Sports Information