No. 18 MIT Falls to No. 8 Johnson & Wales in Five-Set NCAA Regional Final

THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 8 Johnson & Wales University 3, No. 18 MIT 2 (25-11, 25-22, 24-26, 22-25, 15-13)

- Records: MIT (30-3); Johnson & Wales (35-0)

- Location: Providence, R.I. (Wildcat Center)

- The Lead: No. 18 MIT's comeback-bid fell short as No. 8 Johnson & Wales University put together a late rally in the fifth set to record a 25-11, 25-22, 24-26, 22-25, 15-13 victory in the regional final of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament on Sunday. Senior Alli Davanzo (Saint Johns, Fla.) and junior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) represented the Engineers on the NCAA Providence, R.I. Regional All-Tournament Team.

- Interview with head coach Paul Dill and seniors Alli Davanzo, Clare Farley, and Lisette Tellez

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- Holding an 8-7 lead in the opening set, Johnson & Wales picked up the next four points to create some breathing room. A serving error and a kill narrowed the gap to 12-9 but this was as close as it would get as the Wildcats mounted a 13-2 run to end the set.

- Trailing 13-12 in the second stanza, Johnson & Wales rattled off six unanswered points. A kill by senior Lisette Tellez (Miami, Fla.) kicked off a 5-0 burst that evened the score at 18. A kill and a hitting error momentarily gave the Wildcats a small cushion, however, a serving error and a Davanzo kill knotted the score at 20. Johnson & Wales went on to claim five of the last seven points to capture a 25-22 win.

- After a tight start, the Wildcats gradually built a 13-8 lead in the third set. MIT stayed within striking distance for most of the set but a Wildcats block created a 22-18 cushion. A kill by Bertics sparked a 5-0 run that was capped by a Davanzo strike. After trading points, a blocking error and a kill by senior Clare Farley (La Jolla, Calif.) clinched the 26-24 victory for the Engineers.

- The early stages of the fourth set were a back-and-forth affair until MIT built a 21-16 advantage. Despite the deficit Johnson & Wales continued to attack, coming within one point on two occasions, the last at 23-22 on a hitting error. The Engineers capitalized on a hitting error and an ace from junior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) to force a decisive fifth set.

- The Wildcats increased their cushion to 9-6 courtesy of a kill right after the change-over. An exchange of side outs ensued until a kill by Bertics sparked a five-point run that saw MIT take a 13-12 lead. Johnson & Wales then took advantage of a kill and a pair of setting errors to capture the come-from-behind victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Bertics led all players with 18 kills while Davanzo recorded 16 kills, a .469 hitting percentage, and four blocks. Tellez posted 13 digs and 12 kills as junior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) bolstered the front row with nine kills and four blocks. Silvernale amassed 28 digs while Farley earned a pair of aces. Freshman Andie Maloney (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) rounded out the squad with 49 assists, 10 digs, and four blocks.

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