Instant CLASSIC: Volleyball Upsets Springfield in Five-Setter Thriller in Greg Poole Classic

Team Celebration Photo - WPI Women's Volleyball 2022

WORCESTER -- The WPI volleyball team upset visiting Springfield, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon in the inaugural Greg Poole Classic at Harrington Auditorium. Poole, a Springfield alum, served as WPI head coach for nine seasons. 

The Engineers took the five-setter, 18-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 15-9, to move to 7-6 overall, 1-5 in NEWMAC play. Springfield, who is receiving votes in the national poll, dips to 8-4, 2-3 in the NEWMAC. 

WPI fell behind twice in the match, 0-1, and 2-1, before battling back to force a fifth and final set. WPI has won two straight in the series against the Pride. 

WPI's Olivia Deckers (Marlboro, MA) led all players with 18 kills, also tallying 16 digs for a double-double. Catherine Reynolds (Concord, NH) also notched a double-double with 36 assists and a team-best 27 digs. Emily Hudson (Melrose, MA) ended the day with 10 kills, while Audrey Stroupe (Leesburg, VA) and Maddie Sanborn (Londonderry, NH) each notched eight kills. Victoria Escuer (Caracas, Venezuela) added 19 kills while Jia Yazon (South Windsor, CT) had 14, and Alana Harris (Lowell, MA) chipped in with 12. 

For Springfield, Jamie Albrecht (Selden, NY) tallied a 14-kill, 13-dig double-double, while Riley Donahue (South Windsor, CT) also doubled up with 11 kills and 22-digs. Natalie Billet (Commack, NY) recorded nine kills and 17 digs, while Morgan Stafford (Corbett, OR) had 19 assists and Megan Kirtyan (Massapequa Park, NY) added 14. Ally Townsend (Hummelstown, PA) led all players with 30 digs. 

WPI scored the first two points of the match, but Springfield broke a 4-4 tie with a 6-1 run to go up 10-5. The Pride stayed on top, but the Engineers cut the deficit to 17-13 on a Sanborn kill. Springfield followed with a 7-2 surge to go up 24-15 before finishing out the 25-18 win on a WPI service error. 

The Engineers rebounded with a 25-21 win in set two, holding the Pride to a .094 attack to tie the match at 1-1. WPI jumped out to a 6-1 lead before Springfield cut it to 7-6. The Engineers surged ahead taking a 14-8 advantage and then went up 18-12 on a Deckers kill. Springfield cut the gap to two down the stretch, but WPI held on for the win. 

A tight third set saw Springfield go up 2-1 with a 25-22 win. The Pride had the early edge, going up five with a Donahue ace. WPI battled back using a 9-2 run, capped by a Stroupe kill to up 15-13. The teams traded leads over the next few points with WPI up 22-21, but Springfield got four straight to take the set 25-22. 

Again, WPI battled back to tie the match, taking set four 25-22 to force a fifth set. The frame went back and forth with neither team taking more than a four-point advantage. WPI had a late 19-17 lead, but Springfield tied it at 20-20. Knotted again at 21-21, the Engineers won four of the next five points, ending it on a Deckers kill. 

In the fifth set, WPI rattled off a 5-1 advantage in the first six points, before Springfield battled to cut it to 8-7. The Engineers then pushed their advantage to 10-8 on a Reynolds block, forcing the Pride to take its final TO of the frame. After the break, it was all WPI, as the hosts closed out the set and match on a 5-1 run to win it 3-2. 

Both teams continue NEWMAC play on Tuesday at 7pm. WPI will play at Smith, while Springfield head to Clark.

Photo courtesy of WPI Athletics Student Assistant Samantha Seng