Beavers Reach NEWMAC Final for First Time Since 2015
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Sophomore Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) had 17 kills and third-seeded Babson College won the final two sets to defeat second-seeded MIT, 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-22, 25-18), in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Thursday night at Rockwell Cage.
Babson, which is ranked sixth in the latest NCAA regional rankings, improves to 22-8 overall and returns to the conference championship game for the first time since 2015. MIT, which is currently fourth in the regional rankings, slips to 25-5 overall.
Senior Shannon Roseen (Malden, Mass.) put away 10 kills and junior Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) hit .400 and added nine kills for the Beavers. Classmate Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) handed out 36 assists and registered 12 digs, first-year Maddie Malee (Orlando, Fla.) had a career-high 18 digs, and junior Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) tied for match-high honors with six blocks in the win.
Senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) led all players with 21 kills, junior Alexis Groark (Elwood, N.Y.) added 16 kills and senior Christina Liao (Warren, N.J.) finished with 40 assists and 10 digs for the Engineers. Classmate Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) had a match-high 19 digs and junior Shea Landeene (Phoenix, Ariz.) added six blocks in the loss.
With the first set deadlocked at 15, the Green and White got kills from Roseen and Carosotto, and a service ace from sophomore Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) to go in front for good at 19-16. MIT got as close as one on three occasions, but Roseen put away her fourth kill of the opening frame to take a 1-0 lead.
The Engineers never trailed in game two and took advantage of eight attack errors by Babson to even the match at a set apiece. The Beavers led by as many as four and trailed by as much as three early in the third set before using a 14-5 run to take control of the stanza. Puccio, Miller and Roseen all contributed two kills apiece as the Green and White opened a 23-17 lead on another ace by Witten on the way closing out the set.
Trailing 12-10 in the fourth set, the Beavers rattled off six consecutive points to go in front 16-12 on an error by Bertics. MIT pulled within two on a kill by Bertics, but Witten served up a pair of aces to spark another five-point run that extended the margin to 24-17. Landeene stopped the spurt with a kill only to see Roseen tally her 11th kill of the night on match point.
Babson will travel to top-seeded Springfield for the NEWMAC Tournament final on Saturday at 1 p.m.
• The Beavers snapped a four-match skid against MIT and picked up their third conference tournament win over the Engineers since 2014 on Thursday night.
• Babson improved to 22-2 this season when winning the first set and 6-3 in four-set matches.
• With 17 kills on Thursday, Puccio has 685 in her career and passed Tonya Strange '94 for eighth place in program history.
• Babson's 22 victories this fall are tied with the 1993, 2012 and 2017 squads for the third most in single season history.