Nov. 13, 2010

Courtesy of Springfield Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - In the fourth match of the day, certainly the most anticipated match of the day, it was the host team, #5-seeded Springfield College defeating #4-seeded Tufts, 3 games to 0 in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Springfield, Mass. Regional. Game scores were 25-14, 25-19, 25-20.

With the win, Springfield is now 30-4 overall, while the Jumbos end their season at 22-11.

Saturday's semifinals are thus set for Blake Arena. In match #1, it will be #2-seeded UMass-Boston vs. #3-seeded Middlebury College at 3:30 pm. In match #2, it will be #1-seeded Amherst vs. #5-seeded Springfield at 6 pm.

Tonight's match allowed Springfield to attain a 30-win season, its 10th overall in the history of the women's volleyball program at Springfield.

"Our track record against Tufts is one where we seem to learn a lot," said Springfield Head Coach Joel Dearing. "I hope that remains true. We had a lot of time to recover from the NEWMAC Tournament (where SC lost in the finals to Coast Guard). But we were very focused tonight.

"From Day One of pre-season practice, our goal has been to win Regionals," said Dearing. "We are one step closer.

"Our game plan tonight was to highlight the middles, and both Lauren (Torvi) and Sarah (Lang-Rodean) were terrific. I thought our attack was well-balanced. And I thought we played very good defense."

Lang-Rodean, a senior from Mansfield Center, Conn. who was named the NEWMAC Player of the Year earlier this week, finished with a team-high 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Torvi, a junior from North Smithfield, R.I., ended with 10 kills and a .364 hitting percentage.

Kelsea Hellyar, a senior setter from Fairhaven, Mass., had 30 assists and 11 digs. Tessa Smolinski, a freshman outside hitter from Hebron, Conn., also had 11digs.

For Tufts, certainly the bright light was Caitlin Updike, a senior outside hitter from Manhattan Beach, Calif., who finished with a match-high 14 kills. Junior Cara Spieler (Santa Barbara, Calif.) had a match-high 17 digs, followed by junior libero Audrey Kuan (Los Altos, Calif.) with 16.

Springfield hit .206 as a team. The key stat of the match, however, may have been SC's limiting Tufts to a .000 hitting percentage.

In game #1, SC jumped out to big leads, 7-3 and 15-5. A kill by senior Heather Lively (Royalston, Mass.) finished off the Jumbos in that one. In the second game, it was 17-all, but SC scored eight of the last 10 points. In game #3, Tufts had a 13-11 edge. But at 14-all, the Pride scored five straight points, and that ultimately proved to be the difference.