SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – WPI bested Mount Holyoke College, 3-0 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) finale on Saturday. With the win, the Engineers conclude 2016 with an overall record of 22-8 overall and 5-5 in the NEWMAC, while the Lyons end 5-17 overall and 0-10 in the conference.
For MIT, senior outside hitter Maddy Werth (Bedford, MA/Bedford) led the match with 14 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Casey Hunt (Granby, Conn./Granby) posted 10 kills to go along with 10 digs. Junior middle hitter Brooke Klepper (Miami Beach, Fla./Miami Beach) posted a game-high six blocks.
For the Lyons, senior captain and setter Natalie Lyon (Oakton, Va./Flint Hill School) earned a match-best 19 assists and two service aces. Sophomore libero Cameron Graham (Sarasota, Fla./The Out of Door Academy) led the match with 18 digs, while sophomore middle hitter Joy Maran (Santa Fe, N.M./Santa Fe Prep) led the Lyons with six lills.
The teams played evenly in the first set as they battled to a 15-15 tie. Three consecutive attack errors by the Lyons gave MIT an 18-15 advantage, but MHC countered with two straight points following a service ace from junior outside hitter Katrina Meserve (Falmouith, Maine/Falmouth). The Engineers went up by as much as four later in the set, but after an ace from Lyon, MHC cut the margin back down to 23-21. Two costly errors by the Lyons helped MIT to a 25-21 first set win.
Much like the first set, the teams went back-and-forth, tying the game at 12-all. WPI scored five straight points, backed by two kills from Werth to give the engineers a 16-12 advantage. The Lyons went on a run, tying the game at 23 apiece after a service ace from Sasha Simine (Kitchner, Ont./Cameron Heights College Institute).
An attack error from the engineers put the Lyons up 24-23, but a kill by Werth and an attack error from MHC gave the visitors a 25-24 advantage. Mount Holyoke scored two straight points to take the lead, but a kill from senior outside hitter Samantha Bircsak (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) tied the game once again at 27-all. WPI went on to score three of the next four points to earn the set win, 30-28.
With momentum heading into the third set, the Engineers got out to a 21-7 advantage. MHC came within a 23-10 margin, but Werth put down the deciding kill to give WPI the 3-0 victory.