Beavers Extend Division III's Longest Winning Streak to 35, Record 16th Consecutive Victory Overall
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) registered a season-high 16 kills and 17th-ranked Babson College hit .429 in the decisive fifth to rally for a 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12) victory over visiting Wellesley College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's volleyball action on Tuesday night inside Staake Gymnasium.
Babson (27-1, 8-1 NEWMAC) extended Division III's longest home winning streak to 35 matches while winning its 16th straight contest overall. The Beavers now must defeat Mount Holyoke on Saturday to grab a share of its first regular season conference title since 2014. Wellesley, which saw its 15-game winning streak come to an end, is now 20-4 overall and 9-1 in NEWMAC play.
Junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) finished with 14 kills and three blocks, senior Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) added 10 kills and four blocks, and classmate Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 43 assists to go along with a season-high 19 digs to lead the Beavers. Junior Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) and sophomore Maddie Malee (Orlando, Fla.) both added 14 digs in the victory.
Sophomore Nicole Doerges (San Marino, Calif.) led all players with 18 kills and added 16 digs, while junior Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) totaled 15 kills and three blocks to pace the Blue. Sophomore Izzy Seebold (Concord, N.C.) handed out 44 assists and senior Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.) tied for match-high honors with 19 digs.
Trailing by a set and down 21-18 in the fourth, the Green and White got two kills apiece from Miller and Puccio to go in front by one. Miller's fifth kill of the set two points later gave the Beavers a 23-22 advantage and Puccio tallied her seventh kill of the frame at set point to force a decisive game five.
The fifth set featured nine ties and four lead changes with neither side leading by more than two until the final point. Wellesley took a 9-7 advantage on a kill by Doerges only to see Babson respond with four of the next five points to go in front 11-10 on a kill by junior Sabrina Lechner (Novato, Calif.). Gedney followed with a kill to make it 11-all, but Lapins' ninth kill of the night gave the Green and White the lead for good at 13-12, and Carosotto put away back-to-back sets by Cameron to close out the match.
The lead changed hands eight times in the opening set before Babson scored the final three points for a 1-0 edge. The Beavers led by as many as five early in game two, but the Blue hit .312 in the frame and closed with a 9-2 run that included a pair of aces by Seebold and two kills by Gedney to even the match.
Wellesley carried that momentum into game three, building a 13-5 thanks to six early service aces. The fourth set featured 15 ties and seven lead changes prior to Babson's late rally.
The Beavers return to action on Friday when they host Hunter at 7 p.m., while the Blue travels to Brandeis for its regular season finale on Thursday at 7 p.m.
• Babson has won six of its last eight matches against Wellesley.
• Tuesday's victory was the Beavers' first when trailing 2-1 since outlasting Clarkson in five sets in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
• Babson is 2-0 this season and 10-9 dating back to 2014 in five-set matches.
• The Beavers have won 54 of their last 55 matches at home and are 90-10 inside Staake Gymnasium in head coach Eric Neely's nine seasons at the helm.