Volleyball Survives Five-Set Thriller at Mount Holyoke

Emily Hudson - WPI Women's Volleyball 2022

South Hadley, MA --- The WPI volleyball team outlasted conference foe Mount Holyoke, 3-2, on the road on Tuesday night. The Engineers grabbed the marathon win 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 25-22, 16-14 to move to 12-8 overall, 3-5 in NEWMAC play. Mount Holyoke falls to 8-11, 1-7 with the result. 

WPI out-hit Mount Holyoke, .165 to .107 backed by four Engineers in double-figures in kills. Emily Hudson (Melrose, MA) led the way with 15, while Natalia Wierzbicki (Wareham, MA) had 14, Fiona Gillis (Bedford, NH) had 13, and Maddie Sanborn (Londonderry, NH) notched 12. Gillis smashed her collegiate best in kills, also hitting .367 and adding a season-high six digs. Catherine Reynolds (Concord, NH) distributed the balanced offense with 50 assists, adding 12 digs for her 13th double-double of the season. 

Elsewhere for WPI, Victoria Escuer (Caracas, Venezuela) racked up a career-high 28 digs, the most in a match this season for any Engineer. Suela Miloshi (Needham, MA) tied her career high with 19 digs, while Jia Yazon (South Windsor, CT) had 16. Alexandra Spezzano (Medway, MA) rounded out the WPI highlights with a career-best 16 digs. 

For Mount Holyoke, Madeline Barton (Brookfield, WI) notched a double-double with 14 kills and 20 digs. McKenna Crosby (Jonesborough, TN) and Mar Simon (Miami, FL) each had nine kills, with Crosby tallying a team-high nine blocks and Simon contributing 23 digs. Elle Rimando (Mililani, HI) had eight kills and five blocks, while Lucie Berclaz (Hull, MA) notched a match-high 31 digs. 

WPI led 4-1 early in set one, pushing it to 11-5 with a 7-4 surge. MHC battled back to make it 11-7, but another surge increased the Engineers' advantage to 16-7. The Lyons rallied twice more before the end of the frame, but two kills from Sanborn and a Reynolds ace ended the set at 25-20 for WPI. 

Mount Holyoke knotted the match at 1-1 with a win in set two. The Lyons opened the frame on a 5-1 run and led by as much as seven. Trailing 19-13, WPI rallied to tie the set at 20-20 on back-to-back kills from Gillis, but the Lyons pulled out a 25-23 win. 

The hosts inched ahead with a third-set victory, needing extra points to go up 2-1 in the match. The Engineers had the early edge, opening play by winning seven of the first 10 points. WPI held on to the lead until an extended 12-3 spurt put Mount Holyoke up 18-15. The Engineers rallied to tie the frame at 18-18 and eventually took a 24-23 lead on a Hudson kill. Two more ties followed, 24-24 and 25-25 before the Lyons strung together back-to-back kills to take the set 27-25. 

Mount Holyoke had an early lead in the fourth set, but WPI battled back to tie the frame at 9-9. Neither team was able to gain much momentum over the next few points, as the frame was knotted up six more times before the Lyons edged ahead 21-20. Following a WPI timeout, a Reynolds kill tied the set at 22-22, sparking a 4-0 surge that gave the Engineers a 25-22 win. 

WPI's offense clicked early, opening the deciding fifth set on a 7-2 run. Mount Holyoke closed the gap to 8-4 and then used an 8-2 surge to go up 12-10 after two WPI miscues and a block from Crosby and Abuja. The Engineers countered with a 4-1 run to get set point at 14-13, but the Lyons spoiled it on a Barton kill to tie it at 14-14. After an MHC service error, WPI ended the set and match with a long rally punctuated by a Wierzbicki kill to win it. 

Up next, WPI plays a pair of non-conference opponents on Saturday, traveling to UMass Dartmouth to take on Castleton State at 2pm and the host Corsairs at 4pm. Mount Holyoke has a quick turnaround for its next match, playing at Lesley on Thursday at 7pm.