Regionally-Ranked Volleyball Turns Away Smith, 3-1
BABSON PARK, Mass. – First-years Krissy Robertson (Dedham, Mass.) and Alicia Wilde (Franklin, Mass.) each hit .370 and senior setter Kathleen Lynch (Quincy, Mass.) added 38 assists and 11 digs to lead the Babson College women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-11, 18-25, 25-14, 25-23) victory over visiting Smith College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both teams on Tuesday night. With the win, the Beavers, ranked 12th in the region in the most recent New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) poll, improve to 5-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference. Meanwhile, Smith falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in NEWMAC play.
Robertson and Wilde put up identical offensive numbers, with each amassing 13 kills and three errors on 27 attacks. Fellow first-year Mary Donahue (Braintree, Mass.) added a match-high 14 kills for the Beavers, while sophomore libero Kseniya Stepanova (Upland, Calif.) led all players with 27 digs and five service aces. Babson recorded 10 aces in all while hitting .225 as a team.
Smith was paced by senior Blair Bell (Upper Montclair, N.J.), who recorded 12 kills with only four miscues on 32 attack attempts. First-year Mei-Li Smith (Cypress, Calif.) added a solid all-around performance with eight kills, 12 assists, and 10 digs, while juniors Bethany Ashworth (North Falmouth, Mass.) and Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H.) chipped in with 11 digs apiece. Drummond, Bell, and senior Becca Alexander (Powell, Ohio) each added four block assists in defeat for the Pioneers, who were limited to a .146 hitting percentage and no aces against the stingy Babson defense.
The Beavers coasted to an easy 25-11 victory in the first set thanks to the freshman trio of Donahue, Robertson, and Wilde, which combined for 10 of the team's 11 kills in the frame. Babson senior Ashley Strangio (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) then hit. 571 with four errorless kills in the second set, but it would not be enough to overcome five kills from Bell in a 25-18 Smith win.
In the pivotal third set, Smith trailed by only three after a Mei-Li Smith kill made it 17-14. However, after a kill from Wilde pushed the Babson lead back to four, Stepanova served up seven consecutive points – including a pair of aces – as the Beavers closed with an 8-0 run to take the set, 25-14.
Two more Stepanova aces midway through the fourth set sparked an 8-1 run that turned a 13-11 deficit into a 19-14 Beaver lead. However, the Pioneers closed the gap to one at 20-19 thanks to a 5-1 burst that featured two kills by Bell and another by Drummond. Smith later pulled even on a Babson error that made it 22-22, but a kill by Donahue, an ace by sophomore Brianna San Diego (Daly City, Calif.), and a kill by Wilde over the next four points enabled the hosts to finish off the set and the match, 25-23.