Defending NEWMAC Champs Reach Fourth Conference Title Game in Six Years with 20th Straight Win
BABSON PARK, Mass.—First-year Jordan Lapins (Calgary, Alberta) tied for match-high honors with 10 kills and top-seeded and 18th-ranked Babson College recorded 16 service aces in a three-set (25-20, 25-16, 25-10) win over the fifth-seeded Coast Guard Academy in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Thursday night inside Staake Gymnasium.
With its 20th consecutive victory, Babson improves to 31-1 overall and advances to the NEWMAC Tournament final for the fourth time in the last six seasons. Coast Guard sees its season come to a close at 20-10.
Senior Kristin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) finished with seven kills and three blocks, junior Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) contributed six kills and a career-high five service aces, and senior Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) dished out 28 assists to lead the Beavers. Junior Cassidy Witten (Honolulu, Hawaii) tied for match-high honors with 11 digs and five aces in the win.
Sophomore Amanda Dake (Victor, N.Y.) hit .429 and registered 10 kills and seven digs to pace the Bears. Senior Angelou Dunton (Seattle, Wash.) and sophomore Mary Sweet (Chardon, Ohio) both added five kills, senior Makenna Martin (Granbury, Texas) dished out 15 assists, and junior Veronica Hine (Virginia Beach, Va.) totaled 11 digs in the loss.
Coast Guard jumped out to a 12-8 lead and was clinging to an 18-17 lead late in the first set before Babson rallied to win the frame. Carosotto put away three kills in a five-point span, and then combined on a block with Lapins to push the Beavers' lead to 23-19. The Bears got a block from Dake and first-year Kalea Salang (Keizer, Ore.) to get within three, but Lapins responded with a kill and Malee served up an ace on set point for a 1-0 advantage in the match.
Leading 12-10 in game two, the Green and White used an 8-3 spurt to pull away. The Beavers took advantage of three straight errors, got a block by Carosotto and Puccio and then a kill by Carosotto to stretch their lead to 17-10. Consecutive kills by Lapins made it 20-13, and Cameron produced a pair of aces as part of a closing five-point run after Coast Guard had cut its deficit to four.
Babson dominated the third set jumping out to a quick 9-5 lead and getting five straight aces from Witten as part of an 8-0 run that extended the margin to 17-5 on a kill by junior Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.). The Bears got as close as nine late only to see Puccio record three more aces as part of a closing 6-0 spurt.
Babson will host either second-seeded Wellesley or sixth-seeded Emerson in Saturday's NEWMAC final.
• The Beavers have won 11 consecutive matches against Coast Guard to improve to 17-23 in the all-time series.
• Babson's victory extended the longest home winning streak in Division III to 37 matches.
• The Beavers have won their last nine postseason matches inside Staake Gymnasium, a streak that extends back to 2014.
• Babson is 28-0 this season and has won its last 64 contests when hitting better than .200.