NEW LONDON, Conn. – November 4, 2006 -- Despite virtuoso performances by seniors MaryKathryn O'Neil, Nicole Curtin, and Leah Hettrick, the Springfield College women’s volleyball team fell to defeat this afternoon, 3-1, to the #1-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the final of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Tournament in New London, Conn.
Game scores were, from Coast Guard’s point of view, 27-30, 30-22, 30-20, 30-19.
As a result, #3-seeded Springfield will finish its season with an overall record of 27-8. SC had defeated #6-seeded Clark (3-0) in a quarterfinal, and #2-seeded MIT (3-2) last night in a semifinal of the NEWMAC Tourney. SC has elected not to compete in the ECAC Tournament, and an NCAA post-season tourney berth would be considered somewhat of a surprise.
Springfield put on a burst in game one, scoring the last five points to win it, 30-27. It appeared SC still was feeding off the momentum it had built in winning the final two games of the 3-2 win over MIT the night before.
In game #2, CGA led 24-20, and then scored five straight points to lead 29-20, before winning 30-22. In game #3, the Bears led 10-4, and cruised from there to win 30-20. Finally, in game #4, following a 6-all tie, CGA scored 11 of the next 13 points, ultimately winning 30-19.
O’Neil, a senior middle blocker from Liverpool, N.Y., led SC with 16 kills, while Curtin, a senior outside hitter from Beacon, N.Y., added 14. Hettrick, a senior libero from Meriden, Conn. and SC’s all-time leader in digs, totaled 29 more digs to lead the Pride in that category.
Coast Guard finally broke through this season. Today’s match was its third straight NEWMAC Tourney Final appearance, but its first NEWMAC title. Coast Guard will go to the NCAA Tourney for the first time since 1997.