Courtesy of the Wentworth Sports Information Department.
BABSON PARK, Mass. – The historic season for the Wentworth Institute of Technology women's volleyball team came to a close on Friday evening, as Wellesley College posted a 3-0 victory over the Leopards in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament hosted at Babson Park.
The Leopards shut the doors on their most successful season in program history at 25-5 overall, posting its third straight season of at least 23 wins.
"You have to give credit to the way Wellesley played today," said Wentworth head coach Evin Giglio. I think they were tremendous both offensively and defensively. They played a really great match."
Giglio, voted as the Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year, steered the Leopards to its first CCC Championship, and first NCAA Tournament appearance. Sharing a piece of the Regular-Season Title, the Leopards broke a number records along the way to unprecedented success.
"Our mentality has been great. We worked really hard in practice every day and started to win some big matches….we started realizing that we have the ability, the talent, and the drive to be an NCAA Tournament Team," said Giglio.
Junior Leah Rogoz (Woodridge, Ill.) finished with a double-double, recording ten kills and 11 digs, to lead Wentworth in its first match on the national stage. Juniors Samantha Lassiter (Rogers, Ark.) and Claire Quick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) each chipped in with five kills, with Quick also collecting eight digs. Juniors Katie Clouse (Hudson Falls, N.Y.) and Maddy Tomastik (Portland, Ore.) split the setting duties, combining for 21 assists in the setback.
Senior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) finished with a match-high 12 kills, and hit .435 on 23 attempts to lead a Wellesley attack that finished the match with a .313 attack percentage. Classmate Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) added 29 assists, while sophomores Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) and Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) each added nine and seven kills, respectively. Senior Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) collected a match-high 17 digs, while fellow senior Ashley Peng (San Diego, Calif.) had nine digs and Li added seven.
Reece hammered down kills for the first point of the match and the last point of the set as the Blue cruised past the Leopards, 25-15, in the opener. Wellesley hit a staggering .739 on attack, totaling 17 kills on 22 attempts while making just one error. Six different Blue players totaled a kill in the first set, with Gedney leading the way with five.
Wellesley jumped to a 9-2 lead in the second set, forcing a Wentworth timeout. A Reece kill after the break made the score 10-2, but three straight Wentworth points cut the deficit to 10-5. The Leopards would eventually cut the deficit to two, as a 4-0 run aided by a pair of Blue errors made the score 18-16. However, the Blue pushed right back, using a 4-0 run to regain control of the set and finish off a 25-17 final.
The Blue opened up with leads of 5-1 and 10-5 in the third set, but eventually saw Wentworth rally back to within one late in the frame. The Leopards closed the deficit to one point on five different occasions but could not rally past the Blue. Rogoz powered down the final three kills of the match for the Leopards, as her final point made the score 24-23. However, a kill from Jensen ended the set, 25-23, while sending the Blue on to Saturday's regional semifinal.
Wellesley (21-6), making the program's second consecutive NCAA appearance, will play regional host Babson (24-8) in the Regional Semifinals on Saturday, November 10, at 5:00 PM at Staake Gymnasium.
2018 NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
First Round – Friday, Nov. 9
Hosted by Babson (Babson Park, Mass.)
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.