MEDFORD, Mass. – The University of Scranton volleyball team (22-13) battled throughout the match, but saw their season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to the MIT Engineers (26-5) in NCAA Tournament Second Round action on Friday evening at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts.
MIT advances to play the host Jumbos in a Sweet 16 matchup on Saturday.
On Thursday, the Royals had picked up the second NCAA Tournament win in program history with a 3-0 sweep of St. John Fisher.
The Engineers held a 16-11 lead midway through the first set, but consecutive kills by senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) brought the Royals back within three at 16-13. From there, MIT took eight of the next 11 points to extend the lead to 24-16 and despite a late Scranton rally that included a pair of service aces from junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield), the Engineers held on for the 25-21 win.
Scranton raced out to an 8-4 lead in the second set after a pair of service aces and a kill by senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph). The Engineers eventually battled back to even the set at 16 apiece and took a 20-17 lead at one point before four straight points for the Royals including two attack errors helped turn the tide with a 21-20 edge. After an MIT kill, a service error and a kill by sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) gave Scranton a 23-21 advantage, but the Engineers were able to respond by taking the last four points of the set in the 25-23 victory.
In the third set, MIT took 13 of the first 18 points as three straight kills by Lilly Edwards capped the four point run to make it 13-5. Despite the best efforts of the Royals that saw them battle back within five on three different occasions, Edwards later finished things off for the Engineers with a kill in the 25-17 win.
Vitkus led Scranton with 11 kills in the match, while Hadjiyane added nine. Cox helped set up the attack for the Royals with 22 assists and the senior also added 14 digs to record her second straight double-double in the tournament.
For her efforts, Cox was named to the All-NCAA Tournament team.
Freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) led the Royals defensively with 17 digs.
MIT was led by Edwards' 15 kills and 34 assists from Emily Cheng.