Springfield, Mass. - September 15, 2009 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team started its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title defense on Tuesday evening as it handled visiting Wheaton College in three games. The Pride took the match by the game scores of 25-16, 25-11, 25-20.
The win keeps the Pride unbeaten for the 2009 campaign as its record now stands at 9-0, 1-0 in conference play. The Lyons drop to 4-6, 0-1.
The reigning NEWMAC Player of the Year, Heather Lively, had her most dominating performance of the season as she registered 14 kills at an incredible .600 clip, to go along with four digs. Sarah Lang-Rodean was equally as impressive, finishing with 10 kills while hitting ..529 and fellow middle Lauren Torvi added six kills on just seven swings. Kelsea Hellyar directed a very efficient Springfield offense that hit .348 for the match as she handed out 38 assists to go along with seven digs, four kills, and a pair of aces. Meaghan Hart recorded a match-high 13 digs on defense for the hosts.
Wheaton was limited to just a .020 hitting percentage in the match as it struggled to find its offensive rhythm. Lauren Kraus led the Lyons with 10 kills, while Miranda Howitt chipped in with seven kills and five digs. Kristen Hunt anchored Wheaton's defense with a team-best 12 digs on the evening and Becca Rose dished out 19 assists to go along with five digs.
A kill from Lively put the hosts up 13-10 in the first stanza, only to have Wheaton charge back with four-straight points, including back-to-back kills from Kaitlyn Stokes, to force a Springfield timeout. The teams traded a pair of points until the Pride rattled off the final nine points of the frame to take the first game, 25-16. During the run, Hellyar and Lang-Rodean really clicked, connecting on four kills to pace the Pride.
Springfield raced out to a 5-0 advantage in the second game, forcing an early Wheaton timeout. The visitors climbed their way back into the match, getting within three, 11-8, after back-to-back Kraus kills. Once again, Springfield flexed its muscle, pouring on a 14-3 run to close out the game. Lively simply took over in the second game as she finished with seven kills on just nine swings in the stanza.
The final game of the match was much closer as the teams were knotted at 14 after a pair of Springfield attack errors. Coming out of a timeout, Springfield regrouped to put together four-consecutive points, which included three kills from Lively, to take an 18-14 lead. The Pride maintained its four-point lead the rest of the way and closed out the match on a Kim Giaquinto solo block.
The Pride return to action on Saturday afternoon in a critical conference match as it hosts Wellesley. The rematch of last season's NEWMAC Tournament Championship will start at 1:00 pm in Blake Arena.