MEDFORD, Mass. -- November 13, 2008 - The Springfield College Pride was too much for the Maine Maritime Academy Mariners to handle, as the Pride swept the Mariners 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-10) in a first-round match of the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Thursday afternoon at the New England Regional hosted by Tufts University.
"We are certainly very excited to advance in this weekend's tournament," said head coach Joel Dearing. "Our goal is to continue to advance in this regional and today was a good first step."
The Mariners tallied the first point of the first set, but that would be the only lead that they would hold as the Pride came back with eight straight to take an 8-1 lead. From that point, Maine Maritime would not get any closer than six points. The Pride's lead continued to grow throughout the set, eventually ending in a 25-10 first set victory.
Maine Maritime kept the second set close, tying the score on three separate occasions at 11, 13 and 14 apiece. Springfield kicked it back into gear, closing the set by winning 11 of the final 13 points for the 25-16 second set win.
The third set started off with two straight points from Maine Maritime as they built their largest lead of the match at 2-0. Once again Springfield used a run to vault ahead to a 10-2 advantage. The Pride’s lead grew to as many as 16 points and the set ended with a 15-point victory at 25-10 to earn the match sweep.
NEWMAC Player of the Year Heather Lively (Royalston, Mass.) was unstoppable as she hammered out 17 kills, while hitting .517 for the match. Fellow sophomore Kelsea Hellyar (Fairhaven, Mass.) recorded a match-high 26 assists, while senior Aylene Ilkson (Baldwin, N.Y.) was the digs leader for Springfield with 10, and she also added two service aces. Senior Jessica Baldwin (Fairport, N.Y.) served four aces.
Junior Amy Young (Cumberland, ME) paced the Mariners with five kills and one service ace. The match-leader in digs was freshman Lauren Sakahara (Bellevue, WA) with 13. Freshman Heather Moore (Macedon, NY) added seven assists, while junior Katherine McMillan (Belfast, ME) chipped in with one service ace and three digs.
For the match, the Pride held the Mariners to a -.047 hitting percentage. On the flip side, the Pride's offense was clicking as it finished with a .318 hitting percentage as a team.
Springfield will face Williams in the New England Regional semifinals of the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship on Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm inside of Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University. The Ephs were also 3-0 winners in their first-round match, against Keene State College.
"This tournament has the making to have two very competitive semifinal matches on Friday evening," said Dearing. "Williams looks really strong and seem to be finally healthy. Clearly after just winning the NESCAC last weekend, this will be a great test for our team."
Williams and Springfield met earlier this season at the MIT Invitational, a match which the Pride won in four games.