Springfield, Mass. - November 1, 2018 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team swept Wellesley in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals on Thursday night in Blake Arena by the set scores of 25-13, 25-22, 25-23.
The top-seeded Pride improved to 23-6 and will face third-seeded Babson in the NEWMAC Championship on Saturday in Blake Arena at 1 pm. It marks the first time that Springfield earned a spot in the title match since 2013. The loss drops the Blue's record to 20-6. Both teams appeared in the latest NCAA Division III New England Regional Rankings, with the Blue checking in at No. 5 and Springfield coming in at the No. 8 spot.
Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) led all players with 14 kills to go along with 10 digs, three blocks, and three aces. Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) handed out 27 assists and posted three aces, while Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) was credited with a match-high 11 digs. Both Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, N.Y.) and Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) had four blocks and Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) chipped in eight kills.
Wellesley was limited to a .089 hitting percentage in the match, as Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) totaled eight kills, Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) tacked on seven kills and seven blocks, and Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) delivered 20 assists.
It was a tremendous start for the Pride, as it rattled off the first five points of the match and forced the Blue into a timeout at 8-1 following the visitors second hitting error of the early going. Springfield didn't let up the pressure, pushing their lead to 17-5 and Wellesley would burn their final timeout when vonKampen and Donnelly sealed for a block at 20-8. After an ace from Donnelly made it a 22-9 game, the visitors answered with four-straight points thanks to the standout play of Reece. However, Tovar would drop the Pride's fourth ace of the first set for the 25-13 win in a stanza in which Springfield held Wellesley to a -.120 hitting percentage.
Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) put away an overpass for an early 4-1 lead and Donnelly and Bancroft combined four a huge block at 9-5 for the Pride. After Springfield pushed its lead to 13-8, the visitors responded with four-straight points to pull within one following the Pride's first attack error of the set. However, he hosts regained the momentum when Bancroft and Donnelly bounced back-to-back overpasses for kills to push the Pride's advantage to 18-14. After Wellesley pulled within two points three times down the stretch, including at 23-21, kills from Bancroft and Tanner gave the Pride a 25-22 victory.
A tremendous serving run by Labadorf allowed the Pride to surge out to a 6-0 lead and Wellesley called for a time out at 12-4 when Labadorf and Bancroft snuffed out an attack on the pin. The visitors would respond with a 6-2 push as Springfield called a timeout following a block from Reece and Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.). Out of the break, the Pride's lead ballooned to 17-10 after Tovar found the back corner for a kill and an ace from Tanner later gave the Pride set point at 24-19. Wellesley would make things interesting with four-straight points, but the Blue's 21st hitting error of the night allowed the Pride to complete the 25-23 win.