SPRINGFIELD, MA- The Wheaton College women's volleyball team opened New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday night with a 3-0 (16-25, 11-25, 20-25) setback at defending league tournament champion Springfield College in Blake Arena.
The Lyons fall to 4-6 overall, while the Pride, which is receiving votes in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll, remains unbeaten at 9-0.
Senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) provided 12 kills, and sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) had seven kills and six digs. Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) turned in 22 assists and five digs.
Juniors Heather Lively (Royalston, MA/Pioneer Valley Christian School) and Sarah Lang-Rodean (Mansfield Center, CT/E.O. Smith) accounted for 14 and 10 kills, respectively, in the win, while classmate Kelsea Hellyar (Fairhaven, MA/New Bedford) provided 38 assists.
Sophomore Meaghan Hart (Stony Brook, NY/Ward Melville) and freshman Cassie Seymour (Sebastopol, CA/Analy) notched 13 and 10 digs, respectively.
Wheaton hung tough early in the first set, battling through six ties before trailing 12-9. However, a 5-1 Lyon run, capped by consecutive kills from junior Kaitlyn Stokes (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury Memorial), provided the visitors with a 14-13 edge. The teams split the first four points following a Springfield timeout before the Pride scored the last 10 for the win.
Set two belonged to the hosts, who jumped out to 5-0 and 11-5 advantages. Three straight Kraus kills cut the Wheaton deficit in half before Springfield answered with an 11-0 run and an eventual triumph. The Lyons didn't go quietly in the third set, playing the Pride to a 14-all tie before falling short. Springfield rattled off the next five points and led by no less than four the rest of the way.
Wheaton is back in action on Saturday for a home tri-match against league foe United States Coast Guard Academy at 11:00 a.m. and non-conference opponent Bridgewater State College at 4:00 p.m.