BABSON PARK, Mass.—The 21st-ranked Babson College women's volleyball team matched the best start in school history with victories over Clark University and Kean University inside Staake Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon. The Beavers opened the day with a three-set (25-16, 25-17, 25-12) win over Clark, and defeated Kean in four sets, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-5, in the final match of the day.
The Beavers, who matched the 1992 squad with 11 straight wins to open the season, are also 2-0 in NEWMAC play. Clark is 4-9 overall and 0-2 in the NEWMAC, while Kean is 10-6 on the year.
Babson 3, Clark 0
Junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) led all players with nine kills and first-year Laura Zuloaga (Naples, Fla.) hit .533 and recorded a season-high eight kills to lead the Green and White to a three-set sweep of the Cougars. Six different players had at least four kills in the win, and senior Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 30 assists and added match highs of four blocks and four services aces for the Beavers.
First-year Claudia Rivera (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) recorded eight kills, junior Sophia Torino (Los Angeles, Calif.) doled out 16 assists, and sophomore Marimo Oka (Fukuoka, Japan) led all players with 16 digs to lead Clark.
Leading 6-5 in the opening game, the Green and White got three aces from Cameron and two more from junior Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) as part of a 10-2 run to pull away for a one-set lead. The Beavers trailed just once in game two, but were unable to build a lead biger than four until juniors Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.), Sabrina Lechner (Novato, Calif.) and Avery Tronson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) put away kills to make it 21-16 late in the frame.
Babson dominated the third set hitting .324 and recording 15 kills to close out the match. Puccio and first-year Lauren MacDonald (Westwood, Mass.) both had two kills apiece as part of an opening 12-3 run, and the Beavers took advantage of eight errors by the Cougars in the set.
Babson 3, Kean 1
Puccio tallied 13 kills and Miller, Zuloaga and senior Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) each put away seven kills apiece in the Beavers' four-set win over the Cougars. First-year Jordan Lapins (Calgary, Alberta) added six kills, Cameron finished with 32 assists, seven aces, six kills and six digs, and sophomore Maddie Malee (Orlando, Fla.) recorded 13 digs in the win.
Junior Zoe Strozewski (Mount Prospect, Ill.) hit .320 and totaled 12 kills and three blocks, senior Brianna Calvano (Williamstown, N.J.) dished out 29 assists and classmate Kortnee Nelson (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) finished with 11 digs for the Cougars.
Leading 16-14 in the first set, the Green and White scored five straight points on the serve of Cameron to extend its advantage to 21-14. Kean pulled within four at 21-17, but then made four late errors to help the Beavers close out the frame.
Babson hit .294 and recorded 15 kills in a second set that saw it jump out to a quick 13-4 lead. The Cougars were able to get as close as five at 20-15 before a kill and an ace by Zuloaga and two kills by Lapins helped the Green and White close out the set.
The Beavers struggled in the third, falling behind early and hitting just .167 on the way to dropping its first set at home since the end of the 2017 campaign. They responded with a dominant fourth set though, recording 14 kills against just one error and hitting .565 to finish off the match.
Babson returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to Emerson at 7 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 16-20 all-time against Clark and 2-0 versus Kean.
• Babson's 25-match home winning streak is currently the longest in Division III.
• Prior to dropping the third set against Kean the Beavers had won 63 consecutive sets inside Staake Gymnasium – a run that extends back to the 2017 NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinals.
• Puccio is up to 878 career kills and passed Caitlin O'Neill '10 for sixth place on Babson's all-time list on Saturday.