SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) totaled a match-high 14 kills to lead top-seeded Springfield College to a 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-23) victory over fourth-seeded Wellesley College in the semifinals of the 2018 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Volleyball Championship on Thursday night at Blake Arena.
Springfield improves to 23-6 overall with the victory and advances to the NEWMAC Championship match on Saturday, November 3, at 1:00 PM. Wellesley, the No. 5 ranked team in the region, is now 20-6 and will now wait and see if they have been selected to play in their second straight NCAA Division III Championship.
Sophomore Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) had eight kills to lead the Blue, while senior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) added seven and sophomore Darina Postupaka (Tinley Park, Ill.) had six. Senior setter Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) tallied 20 assists, but the Blue attack hit only .089 in the match. Senior Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) and junior Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.) each had seven digs to lead the Wellesley defense.
Donnelly hit .229 and added 10 digs to lead the Pride with a double-double. Senior Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) added eight kills, while sophomore Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) and first year Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) each chipped in with five. First year Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) finished with 11 digs to lead the Springfield defense. First year setter Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) had 27 assists.
Springfield jumped to a 10-1 lead to start the first set and never looked back, cruising to a 25-13 victory in the opener. The Pride had leads of 15-5 and 20-8 before closing out the set. The Pride never trailed in the opening set, as they limited the Blue to just five kills. Donnelly put down six of her match-high 14 kills to start the match, while an ace from Tovar clinched the set.
The Pride had a 13-8 lead to start the second set, until a 3-0 Blue run cut the deficit to two, at 13-11, and forced a Springfield timeout. Wellesley cut the lead to one following the break, but couldn't rally past the Pride. Leading 15-14, Springfield used a 3-0 run, capped by a kill from Donnelly, to increase their advantage to 18-14. The hosts continued to hang on to the lead before closing out a 25-22 win.
Trailing 12-4 in the third set, Wellesley used a 6-2 run to force a Springfield timeout with the score now 14-10. The Pride rallied after the break, scoring three straight points to take a 17-10 lead. Wellesley responded by scoring nine of the next 13 points in the set, including a 5-0 run, to make the score 21-19. However, the Blue could not rally past the Pride, despite cutting the deficit to 24-23 late, as they dropped at 25-23 final.
The NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship Selection Show can be viewed on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.