CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Sophomore Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) and first year Nicole Doerges (San Marino, Calif.) combined for 21 kills, but Wellesley College volleyball came-up short at No. 21 MIT, falling 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-22), in New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Tuesday night at Rockwell Cage.
The Blue are now 15-4 overall and 6-3 in the NEWMAC. MIT improves to 21-2 overall and 7-1 in conference following the rematch of last year's conference title match. With one match remaining in the NEWMAC regular season, the Blue are tied for fourth, while MIT is in a three-way tie atop the standings.
Gedney totaled a team-high 11 kills and Doerges finished with a double-double of 10 kills and 11 digs to lead the Blue. Sophomore Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) had a team-high 12 digs to go along with six kills. Wellesley put together a .206 attack percentage behind a match-high 32 assists from senior Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) but couldn't break through in three straight close sets.
Senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) and junior Alexis Groark (Elwood, N.Y.) each tallied 12 kills to lead the Engineers. Senior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) picked-up a match-high 20 digs to lead MIT on defense, while senior Christina Liao (Warren, N.J.) added 29 assists. The difference in the match came at the service line, where the Engineers racked-up 13 aces and the Blue made 11 errors.
The Blue had a 10-6 lead early in the first set, but a 5-1 MIT run capped by a kill from Bertics erased the Blue advantage and tied the match 11-11. The Blue and Engineers played to seven tie scores, but MIT broke a 16-all tie with five straight points to take a 20-16 lead. The host went on to take the set, as the held of a late Wellesley push for a 25-22 win.
The teams followed a tight first set with an even more closely contested second, playing to nine tie scores before MIT again found a late edge. With the frame deadlocked at 19-19, MIT scored three straight points thanks to a Groark kill and back-to-back Blue errors. Wellesley rallied to tie the match, as a Doerges kill and two MIT errors made the score 23-23. However, another Groark kill and a Wellesley error brought an abrupt end to the set with a 25-23 MIT win.
MIT closed out the match with a 25-22 win in the third set. The Engineers stormed to a 10-3 lead to open the game but slowly saw the Blue chip away before eventually coming all the way back to tie the game at 22-all. Despite Wellesley's resilience, MIT found a way at the end, closing out the win on an ace from Margaret Wang (Rockville, Md.).
Wellesley will take on Amherst in their next contest on the opening night of the Hall of Fame Invitational on Friday, October 19, at 7:00 PM. MIT will host Williams on Friday at 7:00 PM on the opening night of the New England Challenge.