Norton, Mass. - September 27, 2016 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team battled to a four-set win at Wheaton in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday night. The Pride won by the set scores of 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16.
Springfield, which was one of four teams from New England receiving votes in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improves to 11-3, 5-1 with the win.
Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) was sensational defensively as she totaled a career-best 35 digs, which is the fourth-highest total for digs in a match in program history. Sanchez's performance was the most digs a Springfield player has had since Itza Nieves '12 went for 33 digs in five sets at the NCAA Division III Championship Elite 8 versus Carthage on Nov. 18, 2011.
Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) led the offense with 14 kills at a .462 hitting percentage to go along with three blocks, while Jennifer Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) added 14 kills and nine digs of her own. Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) chipped in 13 kills and Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) was credited with 40 assists and 16 digs.
A block from Holt and Mawdsley gave the Pride a 5-2 cushion to start the match, and Springfield's lead ballooned to 11-5 when Donnelly hammered a backrow kill in transition, forcing the hosts into a timeout. Wheaton stormed back with an 11-5 burst of their own to knot things at 16 on a service ace, but Kmetz started to find her rhythm and banged consecutive kills to give Springfield the 20-18 lead. The Lyons closed out the frame on a 7-2 surge, with back-to-back aces from Selivan completed the comeback. Sanchez was incredible with 15 digs for the Pride, but Wheaton's seven aces proved to be the difference.
Holding on to a 9-7 lead in the second set, Springfield put together a 5-2 push capped off by a Donnelly swing to take command of the set, 14-9. After the Lyons closed within 18-16, Kmetz took control down the stretch, producing three kills and an ace to give Springfield the 25-20 victory.
The third set featured 10 ties, and after Springfield raced out to a 16-12 lead, Wheaton climbed all the way back to knot the set at 17-all. The teams would be deadlocked at 20 before three-straight Lyons miscues, including a huge block from Holt and Kmetz, gave the Pride the breathing room it needed. Kmetz would later win a joust at the net for the 25-21 win and give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Leading 6-5 in the fourth, consecutive kills from Donnelly and a big swing from Holt in transition forced the hosts into a timeout facing a four-point deficit. Wheaton got as close as 12-10, only to have Holt and the Pride use a 13-6 surge to complete the four-game win. Holt notched six kills on nine errorless attempts in the final frame to power the Pride's offense to a .379 hitting percentage.
Springfield will not play again until next Tuesday, Oct. 4 when it hosts Clark in a rematch of last year's NEWMAC Championship Semifinals. First serve is slated for 7 pm.