Engineers Rally to Snap Beavers' 19-Match Winning Streak in Battle of NEWMAC Unbeatens
BABSON PARK, Mass.—No. 17 MIT rallied to take the final two sets on its way to defeating Babson College in a five-set thriller, 21-25, 25-11, 16-25, 25-19, 15-12, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball action on Tuesday night at Staake Gymnasium.
Babson, which saw it's 10-match winning streak come to an end with its first home loss since 2015, falls to 14-3 overall and 5-1 in conference play. MIT won its third straight contest to improve to 18-1 overall and 6-0 in the NEWMAC.
First-year Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) led all players with 15 kills, while classmate Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) added 10 kills and 12 digs for the Beavers. Junior Gizem Yilmaz (Istanbul, Turkey) also had 10 kills and tied for match-high honors with five blocks. Sophomore Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 40 assists, and junior Abby Beecher (Pittsford, N.Y.) and first-year Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) recorded 14 and 13 digs, respectively.
Sophomore Alexis Groark (Huntington, N.Y.) registered 11 kills, first-year Andie Maloney (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) dished out 33 assists, and junior Carly Silvernale (Bellevue, Wash.) led all players with 15 digs. Junior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) contributed eight kills and four blocks, while seniors Lisette Tellez (Miami, Fla.) and Alli Davanzo (Saint Johns, Fla.) both added seven kills and three blocks.
The Green and White led by as many as six in the opening set before MIT ripped off a 13-5 run to go in front 20-18. The Beavers, who hit .357 in the frame, responded with five straight points, which includes back-to-back service aces by Miller, to regain a 23-20 advantage. The Engineers got within two before kills by Roseen and sophomore Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) closed out the game.
MIT rebounded in the second set by hitting .381 and taking advantage of 10 Babson attack errors to even the match at a game apiece. The Green and White responded in the third though, hammering 12 kills and using six service aces on its way to taking a 2-1 edge in the match.
The Engineers jumped in front 8-3 in the fourth game behind four straight kills from Tellez, and pushed its lead to as many as nine to force a decisive fifth set. MIT took a 7-5 lead in the final frame on a kill by junior Carly Staub (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), and extended its advantage to four thanks to a service ace by senior Clare Farley (La Jolla, Calif.) and an error by the Beavers.
Babson, which was sixth in last week's NEWVA regional poll, killed off three potential match points, two of which came on the serve of Witten, to get within 14-12 before Tellez capped the match with a kill.
The Beavers recorded 54 kills, which was one short of their season high, and hit .160. The Engineers hit .192 while registering 40 kills and 10.5 total blocks.
Babson returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Plymouth State and Endicott in a tri-match beginning at 11 a.m., while MIT takes on Emmanuel on Thursday at 6 p.m.
• The Beavers and Engineers have split their last six matches going back to 2014.
• Tuesday's loss snapped Babson's 19-match home winning streak, which was tied for the fourth longest current streak in Division III entering the night.
• The Beavers are now 14-1 this season when recording more kills than their opponents.
• The Green and White is now 6-7 in five-set matches going back to the start of the 2014 campaign.