Puccio Surpasses 1,000 Career Kills as Beavers Extend Winning Streak to 10
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) and first-year Laura Zuloaga (Naples, Fla.) combined for 24 kills while hitting .550 as 22nd-ranked Babson College defeated visiting Williams College in three sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-16) on the opening night of the New England Challenge inside Staake Gymnasium.
Babson, which has won its last 10 matches, improves to 21-1 overall with its 32nd consecutive home victory, while Williams slips to 11-6 on the year with the loss.
Puccio led all players with 13 kills and became the third player to surpass 1,000 for her career, while Zuloaga matched her season high with 11 kills to lead the Beavers. Junior Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) contributed seven kills and two blocks, senior Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 31 assists to go along with nine digs, and junior Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) chipped in with a team-high 10 digs.
First-year Kiley Wallace (Los Angeles, Calif.) put away seven kills and sophomore Lydia Kurtz (Cincinnati, Ohio) added six kills to pace the Ephs. Senior Alexandra Newton (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) handed out 14 assists and tied for match-high honors with 11 digs in the loss.
The Green and White put away nine kills in its first 16 attempts and got an ace from first-year Jordan Lapins (Calgary, Alberta) to cap a 7-0 run that pushed its lead to 15-6 midway through the opening set. Williams got as close as six late before Miller and Puccio registered back-to-back kills to put the frame away.
Game two featured eight early ties and three lead changes before the Beavers used a quick three-point run to go in front for good at 14-11. Lapins and Zuloaga recorded consecutive kills to make it 19-15, and the Ephs followed up another kill by Lapins with two straight errors as the hosts extended the margin to 22-16 on the way to a two-set advantage.
After trading the first six points of game three, Babson pulled away with a 13-2 spurt that included three kills apiece from Cameron and Zuloaga and pushed its lead to 16-5. Williams responded with a 9-3 run of its own to cut the deficit to just five, but Miller, junior Avery Tronson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and first-year Kelsey Hoff (Newtown Square, Pa.) all produced kills late in the set to help the Beavers close out the match.
Both teams return to action beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday at MIT. The Beavers take on No. 13 Tufts and Middlebury, while Williams faces the host Engineers and Springfield.
• The Beavers are now 2-6 all-time against Williams.
• Puccio joins Meg Flaherty '12 and Mary Donahue '16 as the only players in program history to surpass 1,000 kills.
• Friday's victory was the 199th in the career of ninth-year head coach Eric Neely.
• In addition to owning the longest home winning streak in Division III, Babson has won 28 straight matches inside Staake Gymnasium against non-conference foes dating back to 2015.