CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Without the services of four-year starting setter Becca Rose (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) Tuesday night, the Wheaton College women's volleyball team struggled at New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) foe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as the Lyons lost 3-0 (7-25, 10-25, 19-25) at Rockwell Cage.
Wheaton ran its losing streak to 10 matches in slipping to 8-16 on the season and 2-5 in the conference. MIT, which is ranked regionally by the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA), improved to 17-10 and 5-2.
Lyon senior Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) took on the bulk of the setting duties and finished with eight assists and 10 digs, while sophomore Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) contributed five assists, six digs and three service aces. Freshman Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) fell one kill shy of hitting double figures.
Sophomore Trinity Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif./Saint Ignatius College Prep) paced MIT's attack with 11 kills, and freshman Kristine Bunker (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) notched five blocks. Freshman Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif./Lynbrook) and sophomore Alyssa Rothman (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview JFK) dished out 17 and 14 assists, respectively, while sophomore Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich./Morley Stanwood) totaled 14 digs and four aces.
The hosts quickly built a 5-1 lead in the opening set before Wheaton trimmed its deficit to 7-4 on a Vergara strike, but the Engineers closed things out with an 18-3 run. Set two saw the Lyons get as close as 10-6 after trailing 9-3, but MIT again used a big spurt to win the set, this time tallying 15 of the final 19 points.
The third set proved to be the tightest, as Nissim's back-to-back aces to start the contest put Wheaton in front early. Five lead changes ensued, with the Engineers going on a 7-1 spurt in turning a 10-8 deficit into a 15-11 lead. The Lyons crept to within 15-14, but another 7-1 run by the hosts put the set out of reach.
In order to qualify for this year's six-team conference tournament, Wheaton needs to win its final two conference matches and have Clark University lose its last two. The Blue and White will first compete in this weekend's two-day Hall of Fame Tournament, beginning with Friday night's 7:00 p.m. match against Bridgewater State College at Smith College.