Bears Upset Springfield to Advance to NEWMAC Semifinals

Sophomore Susan West
Sophomore Susan West

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore Susan West had 11 kills and 13 digs leading sixth-seeded Coast Guard to a 3-0 upset win over third-seeded Springfield in the quarterfinals of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament winning 29-27, 25-23, 29-27.

Coast Guard became the first ever sixth-seed to win a NEWMAC tournament game last season when they won at Babson and with the win tonight now advance to the NEWMAC tournament semifinals for the 14th straight season while Springfield is eliminated in the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC tournament for the first time in school history. The Bears complete the sweep of Springfield after beating the Pride 3-2 during the regular season.

"This was a total team effort that was a battle from start to finish," said Coast Guard head coach Aylene Ilkson, a graduate of Springfield College. "I think we executed well throughout the match minimizing as many errors as we could. I think this gives us great momentum heading into the semifinals on Saturday.

The Bears improve to 19-11 and will take on second-seeded Babson in the semifinals at MIT on Saturday at 3:30 with the winner advancing to the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Springfield drops to 20-10 on the season.

Junior Ashley Dumont also had 11 kills and a team-high four blocks in the win while freshman Michelle McGill led the way with 21 digs and classmate Michelle Hernandez led the team with 21 assists to fo with 14 digs.

Coast Guard built an early three point lead in the opening game and maintained the lead still up 11-8 before the Pride ran off four of the next five points to tie it 12-12. Springfield would score four straight to break a 14-14 tie and open up its largest lead 18-14. The Bears would score the next three to pull to within 18-17, but the Pride scored four of the next five for a 22-18 edge.

The Bears would not go quietly as they ran off six straight behind the serving of freshman Michelle Hernandez for a 24-22 lead. The Pride would fight off a pair of set points with three straight forcing a set point of their own. Springfield would have set point at 25-24 and 26-25 before Coast Guard had set point at 27-26 but each time play continued. Coast Guard finally closed out the set with an ace by junior Maggie Hine for the 29-27 win in a set that saw ten ties and four lead changes.

West led the Bears with seven kills and a .462 hitting percentage in the opening game.

In the second game, the teams alternated the first 16 points and were tied for the eighth time at 8-8. The game was tied for the 16th time at 23-23. No team had scored three straight points in the game until Coast Guard trailed 23-22 and scored the final three points as Hernandez had an ace, a Springfield attack error gave the Bears set point and freshman Madison Scott's kill gave the Bears a 25-23 win.

Coast Guard led 8-4 early in the third game and later after three straight points opened up an 18-12 lead, but the Pride would respond scoring nine of the next 12 to tie it 21-21.

Springfield had a set point at 24-23 and Coast Guard had set points at 25-24, 27-26 before wrapping up the win 29-27.


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