Springfield, Mass. - November 3, 2018 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team fell to Babson College in four sets in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on Saturday in Blake Arena. The Beavers prevailed by the scores of 25-18, 29-27, 20-25, 25-21.
Babson improved to 23-8 on the year as it won its third NEWMAC title in the past five seasons to earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship. The Pride fell to 23-7 and will await its postseason fate during the selection show which will air on NCAA.com at 12:30 pm on Monday.
Three Springfield student-athletes totaled 10 kills each in the setback, with Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) notching 10 kills, 11 digs, and four aces, Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) adding 10 kills, seven digs, and two aces, and Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) chipping in 10 kills and 13 digs. Briana Tovar (Tucson, Ariz.) was credited with a match-high 21 digs and Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) handed out 45 assists and registered a team-best three blocks.
Elizabeth Cameron (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship as she ran Babson's attack to a .233 hitting percentage with 40 assists, 18 digs, seven kills, and three blocks. Allie Puccio (New Hartford, N.Y.) led all players with 16 kills and Shannon Roseen (Malden, Mass.) recorded 14 kills of her own. Abby Beecher (Pittsford, N.Y.) collected 15 digs and Kirstin Carosotto (East Greenwich, R.I.) controlled the net with eight blocks.
After Babson grabbed an early 5-2 lead when Cameron spotted a kill, the Pride responded with three-straight points as Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) put away an overpass to ties things up early. However, the Beavers would pour on pressure from the end line, pushing its lead to 15-11 as the Pride whistled for their first timeout of the afternoon. The Pride would pull within 17-15 when Bancroft buried a ball in system out of the middle, but the Beavers pushed its advantage to 19-15 following back-to-back blocks from Carosotto. Springfield responded with three-straight points to get it within 19-18, only to have Babson pull away with the 25-18 win with six-consecutive points thanks to the tremendous serving of Beecher. Babson forced Springfield into 10 attack errors in the first set .
Kmetz ripped an ace to put Springfield on top 6-4 in the second, but Babson reeled off a 9-3 surge thanks to four hitting errors by the Pride as the hosts called for a timeout facing a 13-9 deficit. Consecutive kills from Kmetz made it a 15-13 game, however Babson took advantage of three Springfield miscues and receieved a pair of huge swings from Puccio to have its lead balloon to 21-14. Facing set point at 24-20, the Pride rattled off a 4-0 burst, with a Labadorf ace tying things at 24, as the teams would trade the next six points to be knotted at 27 following another Tanner kill. However, kills from Gaby Miller (Miami, Fla.) and Cameron allowed Babson to hold on for a 29-27 win. The Beavers hit .333 in the frame, with Puccio totaled five kills.
A solo stuff from Katie vonKampen (South Setauket, N.Y.) gave Springfield a 5-2 edge to start the third, but the Beavers responded with a 4-1 push to knot things at six-all thanks to huge stuff from Carosotto and Catherine Hunter (Duxbury, Mass.). However, Springfield would regroup with five-straight points, as consecutive aces from Kmetz pushed the Pride ahead 11-6. Following an attack error by Babson that put them in a 16-11 hole, the visitors used a 4-1 surge to force the Pride into a timeout thanks to a Miller ace. The Pride gained a 21-15 edge when Kmetz finished off an incredible rally with a back row kill as the Beavers whistled for their second timeout. Consecutive aces from Hunter brought the Beavers within 22-18, but Tanner would rip an ace for set point and Donnelly muscled a ball off the block three points later for the 25-20 win.
After a Babson attack error gave Springfield a 13-11 lead, the Beavers poured in six-straight points to surge ahead 17-13 as the Pride burned both of its timeouts. The Pride made one final push as a kill from Kmetz painted the back line and made it a 20-19 game in favor of the visitors. However, Babson benefited from kills by Roseen and Cameron and a Pride attack error to gain a four-point cushion at 23-19. The teams each sided out before Puccio sealed the win with an emphatic swing from the pin, her sixth of the stanza, to seal the 25-21 victory and four-set win.