Women’s volleyball loses nailbiter to MIT

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Photo: Murphy Robey

Emerson College women’s volleyball team.

By Abigail Lott

The women’s volleyball team dropped its NEWMAC season opener following a thrilling 3-2 match against MIT, ending the Lions’ five-game winning streak. 

Despite the loss, the Lions played a very strong game against the 2021 NEWMAC favorites, losing all three sets by only two points. Emerson’s offense was led by sophomore outside hitter Parker Cummings with 22 kills and senior setter Caroline Bond with 49 assists. 

The first set went back and forth between the two teams, with neither having a lead more than two points during the entire set. The Lions were in front 23-21 following a service ace from junior Libero Caroline Davisbut the Engineers were quick to squash the lead, eventually winning the set with a service ace of their own. 

“We definitely didn’t execute as well as we had liked on the first set,” said Head Coach Ben Read. 

The Lions came out strong in the second set and built a commanding six-point lead. Emerson’s attack was led in the second set by sophomore outside hitter Amelia Combs and Cummings, who each had four kills, and sophomore outside hitter Isabella Chu, who had three. The Lions’ ability to catch the MIT off guard was also a difference maker as the Engineers made eight attack errors. The Lions ended the set with a 25-22 win after a kill by Combs. 

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The tide turned in the third set with MIT getting the better of the action. Emerson found themselves down by seven, but fought back and tied it up 15-15 with help from kills by senior middle blocker Jillian Kay and Cummings. Davis had a great defensive set as well and finished the night with 26 digs. 

After that, it went back and forth between the two teams before  MIT capitalized on two defensive errors by the Lions to win the set.

Emerson came roaring back in the fourth set, building a seven-point lead. They maintained the lead for the rest of the set. Bond led the way with two service aces in a row and 10 assists, with several of her assists leading to kills by Cummings and Chu as the Lions won 25-17, advancing a fifth set.

The synergy on the court was the star of the show for the close-knit Lions and Cummings emphasized the importance of playing for the team:

“We are playing for each other,” she said. “We are a very close team and it shows on the court. Whether you are on the court or on the bench, we are all really supportive of each other and push each other to keep going.”

The fifth set went back and forth throughout with no one getting more than a two-point lead. Both teams traded kills and attack errors until two attack errors and a kill sealed the win for MIT. 

Despite the hard loss, the players still had a positive outlook on the game. 

“Honestly I feel really great. I think we could have tightened it up a little,’ Cummings said. “We were right there with them. I feel good about it.”  

First-year libero Alexandria Montenegro echoed Cummings’ comments.

“I think that everyone just played their hearts out honestly,” said Montenegro “There were ups and downs and everyone made errors, but that’s just part of the game. We could have played a little better but we also played our best.” 

Coach Read also seemed happy with the performance, despite the loss. 

“There are people who picked us to finish second in our conference and [MIT] are ranked 18th, so I’m happy,” said Read. “[I’m] a little frustrated because I know that we are a hell of a team and that we can beat them.” 

When asked about looking towards the next game, Montenegro talked about continuing the momentum they currently have.

“I think as long as we don’t get down on ourselves from this one, we have the momentum,” said Montenegro. “We just have to show up and put everything out there, and I think as well as we work as a team that we can do anything.” 

Even with the loss, Read believes the Lions can learn a lot from their performance to help them in future matches. 

“That’s our first loss of the year,” said Read. “Like I said they are the 18th best team in the country and we can take a lot away from that, being two points from winning the whole match.”