At 14-1, Beavers Surpass 1990 and 1992 Squads for Most Wins in First 15 Matches
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—No. 17 Babson College finished with a .255 hitting percentage on the way to defeating Smith College and Keene State College on Saturday afternoon inside Ainsworth Gymnasium. The Beavers eased past the host Pioneers 25-16, 25-17, 25-18 in their first match before cruising to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-22 straight-set triumph over the Owls.
With the victories, Babson (14-1, 3-1 NEWMAC) passed its 1990 and 1992 teams for the best 15-match start in school history. Smith is 3-11 overall and 0-3 in the NEWMAC, while Keene State ran its overall mark to 13-4 with a win over the Pioneers.
Babson 3, Smith 0
Junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) finished with eight kills, first-year Laura Zuloaga (Naples, Fla.) contributed six kills and four blocks, and junior Sabrina Lechner (Novato, Calif.) totaled five kills and three blocks to pace a balanced Beavers' attack. Sophomore Jacalyn Pell (Milton, Ga.) also recorded five kills in five attempts, while senior Emily Woodward (Deerfield, Mass.) dished out 11 assists and had five digs in the win.
Senior Kimani Freeman (Newark, N.J.) recorded six kills and three blocks, while first-year Ava Zollinger (Orlando, Fla.) added five kills and a match-high five blocks to lead the Pioneres. Classmate Evi Evgeniou (Thessaloniki, Greece) led all players with 14 assists and senior Jody Huang (Cranston, R.I.) totaled a match-high 17 digs in the loss.
The Green and White never trailed in game one and despite putting away just eight kills it took advantage of 10 Smith errors and got two key service aces from first-year Jordan Lapins (Calgary, Alberta) to take a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers went in front 9-8 in the second set on a block by Zollinger, but the advantage was short lived as the Beavers responded with a 16-5 run that included four kills by Pell and two apiece from Puccio and Zuloaga.
Babson trailed just once in the third set but needed a closing 10-3 spurt to close out the match. After taking the lead on a service error, four different players recorded a kill and junior Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) served up consecutive aces to give conclude the contest.
Babson 3, Keene State 0
Puccio tied for match-high honors with nine kills and Lapins and Zuloagao both added eight kills apiece as the Beavers hit .341 as a team. Senior Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 32 assists and sophomores Maddie Malee (Orlando, Fla.) and Samantha Hardan (Woodway, Wash.) finished with 12 and 10 digs, respectively.
Junior Megan Palmer (East Islip, N.Y.) put away nine kills, classmate Bailey Wilson (Moorpark, Calif.) doled out 20 assists, and senior Olivia Mathieu (Derry, N.H.) tallied 12 digs to lead the Owls.
The Green and White started fast against Keeene State with kills from five different players on the way to building a 12-5 advantage in game one. The Owls got as close as four at 14-10, but three aces by Miller and a pair of kills by Puccio keyed an 11-2 run to end the frame.
The Beavers picked up right where they left off in game with 11-4 burst that included three kills from Zuloaga and aces from both Cameron and Malee. Keene State would get no closer than six in the set as Babson used a .310 hitting percentage for a 2-0 lead. The Owls grabbed their first lead of the match in the third, but were unable to overcome 20 kills by the Green and White.
Trailing 14-12, Babson a kill and an ace from Lapsins, two kills from Lechner and another from Cameron that made it 19-15. Keene State pulled within two three times late in the set, but two kills apiece from Lapins and Miller helped close out the match.
Babson returns to action next Saturday when it hosts Coast Guard and Vassar beginning at 12 p.m.
• The Beavers are 14-22 all-time against Smith but have won 10 of the last 11 matches between the teams.
• Babson is now 4-2 all-time against Keene State.
• With 17 kills and a block assist on Saturday, Puccio became just the seventh player in Babson history to surpass 1,000 career points.
• The Beavers, which entered the weekend ranked 18th in opponents' hitting percentage, held Smith and Keene State to kills just .052 percent of their attacks on Saturday.