Bears Fall in NEWMAC Semifinals
WELLESLEY, Mass. – The top-seeded Wellesley College volleyball team advanced to the finals of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament with a 3-0 sweep of fourth-seeded Coast Guard in the first of two semifinals at Wellesley College on Saturday. The Blue came away with the victory using match scores of 25-23, 25-9, and 25-19.
Wellesley (28-4) advances to the NEWMAC Championship for the second season in a row, and will await the winner of the Springfield/MIT game. The loss ends Coast Guard's title run and season with an 18-14 record.
The hosts came out on top of a tight first set, taking a 1-0 match lead with a 25-23 set win. The early part of the set went back and forth, with neither team leading by more than three points. Coast Guard was the first to take control, building a 20-15 lead after three Wellesley errors and a kill from Karen Matic. Wellesley bounced back on a serving run from Isabel Custodio, as the Blue scored five straight to tie the set at 20-20. Coast Guard then went up 23-22 after a Wellesley hitting error and a Matic kill, but the Blue capitalized on two Bears errors and then got two straight service aces from Caitlin Laughlin to take the set.
The second set was all Wellesley, as the Blue opened up a 12-3 lead and then cruised to a 25-9 set win. Wellesley was aided by solid hitting and long serving runs from Laughlin and Traci Hamanaka. Coast Guard, meanwhile, recorded nine hitting errors with just six kills in the set.
Coast Guard led early in the third set, taking a 13-10 lead, backed by four kills from Matic and two from Keriann Mason. Wellesley battled back to hold a 15-13 edge with another long serving run from Custodio, helped by a Kellyn O'Brady kill and two Coast Guard errors. After trading sideouts, Wellesley opened up a 21-16 advantage on a kill from Jessica Mullen and then held off a late Coast Guard charge to take the set 25-19, winning the match on a Laughlin kill.
Wellesley kept Coast Guard off balance with tough serving, recording eight aces against just five errors. The Blue also out-dug the Bears 41 to 29, holding the visitors to a .100 hitting percentage while giving the hosts ample opportunities to score in transition. Wellesley took advantage of those opportunities, hitting .293 as a team in the sweep.
For the Bears, Matic and Kelsey DePorto led the attack with nine and eight kills, respectively. Mason added six kills and Catherine Walker chipped in four. Mason and Samantha Marmolejo anchored the defense with seven digs each. Maggie Hine tallied 19 assists in the loss.
Sydney Carfagno led the Blue with 12 kills while hitting at a .360 clip. Laughlin added 10 kills, while O'Brady and Mullen chipped in seven and four, respectively. In the backcourt, Vivian Hu led all players with 11 digs, while Carfagno recorded nine and Hamanaka added eight. Custodio and Hilary Ayers split the setting duties, combining for 32 assists.
Mason and Matic finished their careers with 1,257 and 1,225 digs respectively which ranks them fourth and sixth all-time at the Academy. Matic finished with 3,686 assists, second most in program history.