No. 4 Wellesley Volleyball Topples No. 5 WPI to Advance to NEWMAC Semifinals

The Blue will play at No. 1 Springfield on Thursday at 7:00 PM (Julia Monaco).
The Blue will play at No. 1 Springfield on Thursday at 7:00 PM (Julia Monaco).

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Sophomore Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) recorded a match-high 15 kills to lead fourth-seeded Wellesley College to a 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-14) sweep of fifth-seeded WPI in the quarterfinals of the 2018 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Volleyball Championship on Tuesday at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse. 

With the victory, the Blue advance to play at top-seeded Springfield College on Thursday, November 1, at 7:00 PM in the NEWMAC Semifinals. Wellesley is now 20-5 overall and 13-0 at home in 2018. WPI ends the year with a record of 21-8 overall.

Gedney finished with 15 kills on 30 attempts. Senior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) added 10 kills, while senior Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) dished out a match-high 32 assists and collected eight digs. Senior libero Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) tallied 11 digs to lead the Blue. Sophomore Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) had six of Wellesley's 11 service aces in the match.

Senior Casey Hunt (Granby, Conn.) paced the visitors with 14 kills on 34 attempts. However, WPI finished with just 25 kills as a squad, as junior Abbie Gilbert (Hopkinton, Mass.) added six and senior setter Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, Mass.) added 19 assists. Bakhtyari totaled a double-double in her final collegiate match, leading WPI with 10 digs, while Hunt also chipped in with seven digs. Sophomore Amanda Wetmore (Hudson, N.H.) added two kills and four block assists in the setback. 

The Blue got out to a big lead in the first set and never relented, running their advantage to 16-4 before WPI was able to put together an 8-2 run that made the score 18-12. Wellesley scored five straight points following the WPI run, taking a 23-12 lead following a Gedney kill. The Blue eventually went on to close out the set, 25-15, on another kill from Gedney. 

With the second set tied at 10-10, Wellesley scored nine of the next 11 points in the frame to take an 18-12 lead. However, WPI stormed all the way back, tying the match at 24-all when Hunt put down a kill and an ace on back-to-back rallies. A Gedney kill pushed the Blue back up, 25-24, before the set came to a close on a WPI error, 26-24.

Leading 2-0, Wellesley cruised to the sweep with a victory in the third set. The Blue never trailed in the frame, taking leads of 9-4, 15-10, and 20-13. Wellesley would end the match on back-to-back kills from Reece to close out a 25-14 victory.

The Blue will travel to Springfield for the second time this season for Thursday's semifinal match-up. Wellesley dropped a 3-2 decision to the Pride in September when a 17-15 fifth set gave the hosts the victory.