The Middlebury volleyball team dropped a pair of matches on Saturday during the final day of the New England Challenge hosted by MIT. In the day's first contest, the Panthers (14-7) lost to Springfield in three sets (25-16, 25-13, 25-18) and were bested in the afternoon by the host Engineers in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-16). Both of Middlebury's opponents on Saturday received votes in last week's AVCA national poll. The Panthers conclude their NESCAC regular-season schedule next weekend when play at Colby on Friday at 8:00 p.m., followed on Saturday with a match against Bates at 2:00 p.m.
For her efforts, Sarah Staver was named to the all-tournament team. In three matches, the second-year Panther racked up 13 kills, had four service aces and 16 total blocks (4 BS, 12 BA).
Against the Pride who finished the weekend with a record of 24-4, Becca Raffel led the Middlebury attack with 10 kills, while Isabel Sessions chipped in with eight. Chellsa Ferdinand and Hannah Blackburn handed out 12 and 11 assists respectively, while Blackburn recorded a pair of service aces.
Defensively, Gigi Alper paced the Panther effort with 11 digs, while Blackburn and Ferdinand both finished with six. Staver had a block solo and block assist at the net for Middlebury.
In the final match against MIT (24-4), Sessions recorded a team-best six kills, while Eliana Schaefer, Alice Roberts and Raffel each had four. Ferdinand had nine assists for the Panthers, while Blackburn produced eight.
Alper tallied a team-best 12 digs for the visitors, while Blackburn chipped in with 10. Staver ended the match with a block solo and seven block assists, while Schaefer tacked on four block assists. As a team, the Panthers produced 20 block assists.