NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College women's volleyball team picked up a 3-0 victory (25-22, 25-12, 29-27) over Becker College on Tuesday night in New England Collegiate Conference action at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Mariners, who improved to 13-10 overall (4-3 NECC), checked off many significant feats with the victory. Mitchell tied the program's single season record for wins in the Division III era and also guaranteed its first winning season since moving to DIII. Most importantly, the Mariners clinched a top-four spot in the league standings and are in line to host a postseason game for the first time ever in next week's NECC Championship.
Olivia DeLoach led all players with 16 kills and added 14 digs to pace Mitchell. Ariana Carter chipped in nine kills on senior night while Claire Binfield contributed six kills and 14 assists. Lexi Hubbard handed out a match-high 20 assists and Cameron Childs supplied a team-high 20 digs.
Teddie Flynn led Becker (9-15 overall, 2-4 NECC) with nine kills and hit .450 in the match. Sofia Cullina checked in with a match-high 21 digs while Morgan Gould finished with 17 assists.
With the score tied at 11-11 in the opening set, Olivia McGuinness served for seven straight points to give Becker a big lead. Mitchell responded with a 12-2 run to seize the momentum, taking the lead on an ace by Childs while DeLoach provided three kills during the stretch. DeLoach later closed out the set with her eighth kill to put the Mariners in front 1-0.
Bree Rudolph was the catalyst for the Mariners in the second set. With Mitchell clinging to a 12-11 lead, Rudolph stepped up the service stripe and ripped off 11 straight points to bring the crowd to its feet, with seven of the points coming via the ace.
Becker led by as many as seven in the third set before Mitchell rallied back to tie things up at 18-18. However, a dig and kill from Cullina and an ace by Yesenia Aviles put the Hawks back on top, and they eventually led 24-20 with a chance to extend the match. Mitchell fought off a total of five set points in the final moments before finally slamming the door behind kills by Binfield and DeLoach.
Prior to the game the Mariners honored Carter, their lone senior, in a special ceremony. The four-year letterwinner played in her 78th game and has career totals of 327 kills and 112 blocks.
Mitchell will close out the regular season at Western Connecticut State University on Friday, November 1 at 6 p.m. Becker returns to action at home against Lesley University on Friday at 7 p.m.