Volleyball Splits at MIT; Fall to Host Engineers, Rally to Defeat Colby-Sawyer

Team Celebration - WPI Volleyball 2022

Cambridge, MA --- The WPI volleyball team split a pair of matches on the road at MIT on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers fell 3-1 to MIT (21-25, 25-13, 25-20, 27-25) in the opener, before rebounding with a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-19, 25-22) over Colby-Sawyer to close the day. 

WPI goes to 5-5 overall, 0-4 in NEWMAC play, while MIT improves to 10-1, 4-0 in the conference. Colby-Sawyer fell to 5-8 on the season. 

Match 1: MIT 3, WPI 1 

MIT won a 3-1 match which was closer than the final score indicated. The Cambridge Engineers dropped the first set 25-21, before winning the final three, 25-13, 25-20, 27-25. Both teams hit well in the match, with MIT holding a .243 to .204 advantage in the final numbers. MIT also had a 14-5 bulge in service aces. 

MIT got a Herculean effort from Ella Gragg (Morganton, NC) who racked up 23 total kills, while Lauren Keller (Albuquerque, NM) added 10. Sofie Kupiec (Manhattan Beach, CA) recorded 49 assists, adding 10 digs to complete a double-double. Ottavia Personeni (Bethesda, MD) led the Engineers' defense with 21 digs. 

Olivia Deckers (Marlboro, MA) led WPI's offense with 11 kills and three service aces, while Natalia Wierzbicki (Wareham, MA) added 10 kills with two blocks. Catherine Reynolds (Concord, NH) dished out a 30-assist, 17-dig double-double, adding three blocks. Victoria Escuer (Caracas, Venezuela) tallied a team-best 18 digs with Emily Hudson (Melrose, MA) notching a team-best four blocks. 

WPI had the edge in set one, opening on a 6-0 run and holding the lead until a late 17-17 tie. After back-to-back points, MIT took its first lead of the set at 21-19, but WPI closed the frame how it started, with a 6-0 run to win it 25-21. 

MIT tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-13 win, hitting .419 in the lopsided victory. 

The hosts took a 2-1 edge in the match with a tight 25-20 win in set three. Neither team led by more than three points until a late 7-2 surge gave MIT a 22-16 advantage. WPI closed the gap to 22-19, but couldn't get any closer, falling behind 2-1. 

In the final frame, it took extra points for MIT to close out the victory. WPI out-hit MIT .222 to .173, but the hosts broke a 25-25 tie with a Gragg kill and a WPI error to earn the set and match win. 

Match 2: WPI 3, Colby-Sawyer 0 

WPI rebounded with a 3-0 sweep over Colby-Sawyer, winning 25-14, 25-19, 25-22. 

The Engineers held the Chargers off-balance on the attack, holding a .240 to .076 advantage on offense. WPI was paced by nine kills each from Reynolds and Audrey Stroupe (Leesburg, VA), while Reynolds added 14 assists, 11 digs, and three aces to stuff her stat sheet. Deckers ended the day with eight kills, while Escuer led the defense with a match-high 15 digs. 

For Colby-Sawyer, Mia Harmon (Concord, NH) tallied seven kills with Olivia Werner (Williston, VT) adding five. Brooke Patnode (Weare, NH) dished out 17 assists and added eight digs, while Audra Fontes (Fresno, CA) led the team with 12 digs. 

WPI led from start to finish in set one, opening the match with three straight points and not relinquishing the advantage. Werner punched in three kills during the set, while the team held the Chargers to a -.103 attack in the 25-14 win. 

Set two went back and forth with seven ties and three lead changes. WPI broke a 9-9 tie with a 6-0 run to go up 15-9, but Colby-Sawyer battled back to close it to a two point deficit at 19-17. WPI surged down the stretch, closing the match on a pair of kills from Reynolds and one from Stroupe to win it 25-19. 

Colby-Sawyer had the early edge in the third frame, jumping to a 6-2 lead. The Chargers' advantage grew to 21-14, before WPI mounted a comeback. The Engineers rattled off a 9-0 run, turning the tables with a 23-21 advantage. Colby-Sawyer cut it to 23-22, but a service error for the Chargers, followed by an Escuer ace gave WPI the set 25-22, and the match, 3-0. 

WPI and MIT jump back into NEWMAC play on Tuesday at 7pm, with WPI heading to Babson and MIT traveling to Springfield. Colby-Sawyer plays at Rivier on Wednesday at 7pm.