Women's Volleyball Rolls Over Middlebury, Falls to Williams In New England Challenge

Women's Volleyball Rolls Over Middlebury, Falls to Williams In New England Challenge

Cambridge, Mass. - October 22, 2016 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team tallied a .368 hitting percentage as it rolled over Middlebury College before dropping a three-set match to Williams at the New England Challenge in Rockwell Cage on Saturday.

The Pride cruised to its 17th-straight victory against Middlebury by the set scores of 25-16, 25-13, 25-18 before dropping a 25-27, 20-25, 19-25 setback to Williams.

Springfield, which was ranked fifth in New England in the latest NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, is now 24-4 on the year.  For her efforts during the weekend, Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) was named to the All-Tournament Team. 

The Pride will play its fourth-straight opponent from the NESCAC this upcoming Wednesday when it travesl to square off with Amherst for a 7 pm tilt.

Springfield 3, Middlebury 0 

Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) was outstanding in the middle for the Pride, totaling a season-best 14 kills at a .722 hitting percentage, while teammate Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) added 11 kills at a .556 clip.  Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) orchestrated a balanced Springfield offense to its fourth-best hitting percentage of the season as she totaled 30 assists, eight digs, and a career-best four blocks.  Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) racked up 17 digs, and Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) was credited with eight digs, seven kills, and a team-best three aces. 

Springfield opened up a 5-1 lead to start the match and would later have its advantage ballon to 19-11 after a pair of Helgesen kills sandwiched a Kmetz putaway.  Middlebury closed within 19-14, but the Pride pulled away with a 6-1 burst, using back-to-back kills from Holt to wrap up the 25-16 victory. Both Holt and Helgesen totaled five kills apiece to pace Springfield in the opening set as the Pride posted 16 kills at a .378 clip. 

A block from Mawdsley and Jamie Schneck (Livingston, N.J.) put Springfield up 8-3 in the second, only to have Middlebury close within 11-7 on a service ace. However, the Pride's offense kicked into gear and put together a 14-6 run and eased its way to a 25-13 win.  Springfield's defense locked down the Panthers attack, holding them to a .061 hitting percentage, while notching 13 kills at a .357 percentage behind four kills from Kmetz.

The third set started off similarily to the second, with Schneck and Mawdsley combining for a block at 8-3.  Middlebury benefited from back-to-back Springfield hitting errors to climb with 10-7, but the Pride rattled off nine of the next 12 points, with Helgesen and Schneck posting a block for a 19-10 advantage.  The Panthers would get no closer than five and the Pride completed the three-set sweep with a 25-18 third-set victory, hitting .367 thanks to Holt's six kills.

Williams 3, Springfield 0 

Jennifer Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) led Springfield with a team-best 11 kills, while Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) totaled eight kills and three blocks.  Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) notched 33 assists and 11 digs, and Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) registered a match-high 15 digs.  Springfield struggled to slow down the Ephs offense all afternoon as Williams finished the match with a 56-36 edge in kills. 

A pair of kills from Holt fueled a 7-0 run early in the first set to put the Pride up 7-4.  The Ephs answered back with an 8-2 push to force head coach Moira Long into a timeout trailing 12-9 following Williams third ace of the set.  The lead ballooned to 18-12, but Springfield stormed back with a 10-3 push, capped off by consecutive blocks by Jamie Schneck (Livingston, N.J.) to put the Pride ahead 22-21.  Springfield would later fight off two set points, the last coming at 25-all, before back-to-back points by Williams gave them the 27-25 victory.  Springfield finished with 18 kills at a .385 clip, but the service game proved to be the different as the Ephs totaled four aces.

With the score knotted at 19-all in the second set, Williams took advantage of three Springfield hitting errors to put together a 5-0 scoring burst to earn set point. A Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) kill stemmed the tide, but the Ephs tallied their 17th kill of the stanza to take a 2-0 set lead in the match.

Williams broke open a 6-5 third-set lead with five-straight points to gain an 11-5 advantage. Springfield would get as close as 16-15 thanks to a four-point surge, bolstered by a kill and block by Donnelly, only to have the Ephs score nine of the last 13 points to complete the upset win.