Women's Volleyball Rallies for Five-Set Triumph at Springfield

Women's Volleyball Rallies for Five-Set Triumph at Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Junior Catherine Hunter (Duxbury, Mass.) and first-years Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) and Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) combined for 44 kills as visiting Babson College rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Springfield College, 3-2 (16-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-8), in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball action on Tuesday night at Blake Arena.

Babson, which is ranked fifth in the NEWVA regional poll, improves to 17-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play, while Springfield, ranked seventh in the region, drops to 14-8 overall and 4-4 in the NEWMAC.

Puccio recorded 18 kills, Miller had 14 and Hunter added 12 -- all of which were new career highs. Sophomore Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out a career-high 51 assists to go along with 13 digs, while juniors Abby Beecher (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Lauren Hennigan (West Chester, Pa.) registered 22 and 12 digs, respectively, for the Beavers.

Junior Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) smashed a match-high 19 kills and added 20 digs to lead the Pride. First-year Kayley Cimino (Cumberland, Maine) and sophomore Daniela Detore (Lake Grove, N.Y.) combined for 36 assists, while classmate Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) chipped in with 16 digs.

Springfield hit .407 in the opening frame and used a late 10-3 run to take a one-set lead. The Pride built a 20-13 edge in the second before the Green and White responded with seven of the next eight points, including three kills by Hunter, to pull within 21-20. Following a timeout, the hosts ran off four straight points for what appeared to be a commanding two-set advantage.

The Beavers trailed by as many as four before rallying to win a third set that featured 10 ties and five lead changes. Babson used kills by Hunter, Puccio and Yilmaz to tie the frame at 20-all, which was followed by two more kills from Puccio and a service ace from Cameron to go in front 24-23. Springfield pulled even on an error before a Puccio kill and a Pride attack error helped close out the game.

The Green and White recorded 16 kills and hit .278 in the fourth set, ripping off a 13-3 run that included three kills apiece by Miller and Puccio to force a decisive fifth game. The Pride took its final lead at 8-7 on service error before Babson ripped off eight straight points to end the match.

Puccio put the Beavers in front 9-8 with her final kill of the night, and Miller followed two Springfield errors with a kill of her own to make it 12-8. Sophomore Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Miller then sandwiched kills around a service ace by Cameron for the final three points.

The Green and White hit .277 over the final two frames and finished the match with season highs in both kills (62) and digs (78). After hitting at a .345 clip over the first two sets, the Pride recorded 23 kills and hit just .088 over the final three games.

Both teams return to action at the New England Challenge on Friday at 7 p.m. The Beavers take on Middlebury, while Springfield faces the host Ephs.

GAME NOTES
• The Beavers are 3-2 against Springfield since 2013 with all three wins coming in five sets.
• Tuesday's victory was just the third since 2014 for Babson when trailing 2-0.
• The Green and White is 7-1 this season against regionally-ranked opponents.
• Babson's .150 hitting percentage on Tuesday was its lowest in a victory since hitting .148 in a three-set sweep of Colby on October 8, 2016.

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