BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College women's volleyball team added to its postseason honors late last week when the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) announced their 2019 regional award winners.
Highlighting the accolades was Beavers' head coach Eric Neely being selected as the AVCA New England Coach of the Year, senior Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) earning NEWVA Player of the Year honors, and first-year Laura Zuloaga (Naples, Fla.) being tabbed as the NEWVA Rookie of the Year. Cameron and junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) both collected all-region honors from both the AVCA and NEWVA, while senior Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) claimed honorable mention all-region laurels from NEWVA.
The winningest coach in Babson women's volleyball history, Neely earned the program's first regional coach of the year honor after leading the Green and White to a program-record 33 victories this past fall. Under his guidance the Beavers captured a share of their first New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title since 2014, a second consecutive conference tournament championship, and made their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
A two-time conference coach of the year, Neely has won 20 or more matches in six of his first nine seasons, and has led Babson to four NEWMAC Tournament championships and five NCAA appearances since 2014.
Cameron, who earned her third straight AVCA and NEWVA all-region honors, is the first player in program history to receive regional player of the year accolades. She achieved new career highs in assists (9.66) and digs per set (2.43) in addition to hitting .299 and contributing 0.94 kills and 0.42 blocks per set in 34 matches this fall.
The only player to surpass 1,000 assists in three consecutive seasons, Cameron ends her career as Babson's all-time leader with 3,912 assists. She also ranks fifth all-time with 158 service aces and ninth on the school's list with 212 total blocks.
Just the third player in program history to garner all-rookie team laurels, Zuloaga is Babson's first NEWVA Rookie of the Year selection. She averaged 2.23 kills and 0.57 blocks per set while recording a .402 hitting percentage that ranks ninth in Division III. Zuloaga put away 185 kills while making just 31 errors in 383 attempts this season.
Puccio was named to the AVCA All-New England team for the second year in a row and collected NEWVA all-region honors for the third time after averaging 3.44 kills and 1.13 digs to go along with a career-best .255 hitting percentage in 34 matches. Her 371 kills ranks fourth on Babson's single-season list, and her 3.44 kills per set are the fifth highest total in school history.
A 2018 AVCA All-New England honorable mention selection, Carosotto collected honorable mention laurels from NEWVA for the first time. She averaged 2.08 kills and 0.83 blocks per set while hitting .267 in 33 matches. The Beavers' all-time leader with 322 blocks, Carosotto ranks fifth in school history in hitting percentage (.253) and is eighth in both points (955.0) and kills (745).
No. 16 Babson finished the year at 33-2 overall after falling to 21st-ranked Johnson & Wales in four sets in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.