Bears Stun Springfield in NEWMAC Opener

Bears Stun Springfield in NEWMAC Opener

NEW LONDON, Conn.-- Junior Ashley Dumont hit .567 with 18 kills and just one error as Coast Guard stunned Springfield, the #1 team in New England and the defending New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) champion, in thrilling fashion, 3-2 in the conference opener for both schools. Coast Guard won by game scores of 18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 17-25, 16-14.

Coast Guard head coach Aylene Ilkson, who both coached and played at Springfield picked up her first win against her alma mater after losing to the Pride 3-1 in the NEWMAC opener last season.

Springfield (6-3, 0-1), the preseason favorite to repeat as NEWMAC champions, had won nine of its last ten matches against Coast Guard with the only loss coming in the 2010 NEWMAC tournament championship game. It was the Bears first regular season win over the Pride since 2006.

Sophomore Susan West added ten kills while freshman Summer Adams finished with nine kills in the win. Sophomore Michaela McKeown led the Bears with 17 digs while freshman Michelle McGill finished with 15. Freshman Michelle Hernandez had a match-high 23 assist while junior Maggie Hine had a match-high three aces for the Bears.

Junior Kelsey McGayhey led the Pride with 15 kills while sophomore Jennifer Hurtwitz had ten kills and a match-high 22 digs. Freshman Hannah Andres had ten kills and 12 digs while sophomore Lauren Holt finished with ten kills. Senior Molly Giannattasio led the Pride with 18 assists while sophomore Marnae Mawdsley had 17 assists and 12 digs in the loss.

In the opening game, the Pride scored six straight to take a 7-3 lead before the Bears tied it 7-7. Springfield led 15-13 before scoring six of the next seven for a 21-14 lead en route to the 25-18 win.

Coast Guard, ranked 9th in New England, scored the final five points of the second game for a  25-18 win to even the match. The second game was tied ten times.

The Bears started hot in the third game by scoring the first four points and jumping out to an 8-2 lead before the Pride rallied to tie it 12-12. Springfield led 20-19 before the Bears ran off five of the final six points for the 25-21 win.

The Pride forced a fifth game with a 25-17 win in the fourth as they scored seven straight to open up a 14-6 lead and never looked back.

The fifth game was tied 6-6 before Coast Guard scored five of the next six for an 11-7 lead. Springfield quickly responded as they scored five of the next six to tie it 12-12. Springfield had match point leading 14-13 before Dumont had a kill to tie it 14-14. Freshman Summer Adams had a kill to give the Bears match point and a Dumont kill gave the Bears the upset win.

Coast Guard is back in action on Saturday when the Bears host Clark in the NEWMAC match at 11 a.m.

POST GAME INTERVIEW WITH COAST GUARD HEAD COACH AYLENE ILKSON