South Hadley, Mass. - October 15, 2013 - Tessa Smolinski (Hebron, Conn.) provided 17 digs and nine kills to help the Springfield College women's volleyball defeat Mount Holyoke in three sets in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday. Set scores were 25-20, 28-26, 25-17.
Springfield now stands at 7-2, 7-1 in league play, while the Lyons remain in search of their first league win in dropping to 9-11, 0-8.
Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) produced a match-high 10 kills at a .381 clip to go along with five blocks. Kelsey McGayhey (Shelter Island, N.Y.) tallied nine kills and Molly Giannattasio (East Lyme, Conn.) was credited with 16 assists, eight digs, and four kills for the Pride.
Mount Holyoke jumped out to an early 11-5 lead in the first set, aided by four straight service aces from junior utility Kaleen Iwema (Wadsworth, Ill.), but the visiting Pride quickly answered and tied it at 13-all on a kill by McGayhey.
Springfield grabbed that momentum soon after and opened up a six-point advantage (21-15) behind kills from McGayhey and Holt. MHC tried to pull back into the set as senior Martina Kneifel (Oro Valley, Ariz.) laid down a kill, but consecutive strikes from McGayhey closed out the set. The sophomore right side was dominant in the opening game, pounding out seven kills on 10 swings.
In the second frame, the Pride took an 8-5 advantage early but the Lyons capitalized on several errors and a pair of kills each from Iwema and sophomore Emma Sweeting (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hastings) to make it a 15-10 lead for the home team. Springfield battled back, taking a 21-20 lead after Holt and Giannattasio came up for a great block.
Mount Holyoke refused to quit and made it 23-all on a kill from junior Rebecca Bland (Durham, N.C.). Giannattasio laid down a kill on the next point and the two teams went back and forth to the very end until Holt muscled down back-to-back kills for the set win.
The momentum continued to swing in Springfield’s favor in the third set as the Pride opened up a 16-8 advantage, including three kills from Smolinski. The Lyons closed the gap to five (20-15) on a kill from Sweeting, but late points from Giannattasio and Smolinski sealed the victory.
For Mount Holyoke, Sweeting posted eight kills, while Kneifel added seven kills and a game-best 18 digs. First year Natalie Lyon (Oakton, Va.) had a game-high 17 assists.
The Pride will now prepare to travel out of region to compete against some of the top teams in the country at the Trinity Fall Classic in San Antonio, Texas. The Pride will take on nationally-ranked Eastern and Trinity, while also squaring off against Webster and Southwestern.