BABSON PARK, Mass. -- Senior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) finished with a match-high 12 kills and classmate Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) added 29 assists, as Wellesley College volleyball swept past Wentworth in the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday at Babson College's Staake Gymnasium.
Wellesley, making the program's second consecutive NCAA appearance, improves to 21-6 overall and 18-13 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches. Wentworth, champions of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, ends the year at 25-5 following their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Reece hit .435 on 23 attempts to lead a Wellesley attack that finished the match with a .313 attack percentage. Sophomores Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) and Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) each added nine and seven kills, respectively. Senior Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) collected a match-high 17 digs, while fellow senior Ashley Peng (San Diego, Calif.) had nine digs and Li added seven.
Junior Leah Rogoz (Woodridge, Ill.) finished with a double-double, recording ten kills and 11 digs, to lead Wentworth. Juniors Samantha Lassiter (Rogers, Ark.) and Claire Quick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) each chipped in with five kills, with Quick also collecting eight digs. Juniors Katie Clouse (Hudson Falls, N.Y.) and Maddy Tomastik (Portland, Ore.) split the setting duties, combining for 21 assists in the setback.
Reece hammered down kills for the first point of the match and the last point of the set as the Blue cruised past the Leopards, 25-15, in the opener. Wellesley hit a staggering .739 on attack, totaling 17 kills on 22 attempts while making just one error. Six different Blue players totaled a kill in the first set, with Gedney leading the way with five.
Wellesley jumped to a 9-2 lead in the second set, forcing a Wentworth timeout. A Reece kill after the break made the score 10-2, but three straight Wentworth points cut the deficit to 10-5. The Leopards would eventually cut the deficit to two, as a 4-0 run aided by a pair of Blue errors made the score 18-16. However, the Blue pushed right back, using a 4-0 run to regain control of the set and finish off a 25-17 final.
The Blue opened up leads of 5-1 and 10-5 in the third set, but eventually saw Wentworth rally back to within one late in the frame. The Leopards closed the deficit to one point on five different occasions but could not rally past the Blue. Rogoz powered down the final three kills of the match for the Leopards, as her final point made the score 24-23. However, a kill from Jensen ended the set, 25-23, while sending the Blue on to Saturday's regional semifinal.
Wellesley will play the winner of Friday's final match between regional host Babson (23-8) and Mt. St. Vincent (14-16) in the Regional Semifinals on Saturday, November 10, at 5:00 PM at Staake Gymnasium.