Wellesley, MA – For their first match of the New England Challenge, Williams College (11-6, 4-2 NESCAC) took on Babson College (21-1). Babson was ultimately victorious, claiming three straight sets over Williams.
Head coach Christi Kelsey remarked, "Overall, there were some solid things tonight, but I honestly don't think we put our best forward in terms of what we're capable of as a team. Babson is one of the best teams in our region, and they played really consistently from start to finish. We had some good moments but didn't string together enough consistency to make a go of it. We're thankful for another opportunity to compete tomorrow."
The third set began with three kills and a service ace from Babson senior Elizabeth Cameron to help the Beavers take a 16-5 lead over the Ephs. Although Williams found themselves in a hole early on, the Ephs battled. Strong serving from Williams sophomore Olivia Hindy helped the Ephs narrow the gap to 16-9. From here, Williams gained momentum and went on a five-point run, highlighted by a kill from senior Erin Denham, a kill from sophomore Lydia Kurtz, a kill from senior Alexandra Newton, a double block from Lydia Kurtz and freshman Kiley Wallace, and a Babson error. This narrowed the Babson lead to 19-15, but the Babson lead was too large. Babson forced a side out, reclaimed the momentum, and coasted to the set victory, 25-16, and ultimately the match victory.
In the first match, Babson jumped out to a 15-6 lead by distributing the ball among many players, resulting in a varied attack. The strong service effort was led by Babson freshman Jordan Lapins. Williams called a timeout, which forced a service error, and resettled themselves. Following the timeout, the Ephs came out and started to chip away at the lead. The largest Williams run came from the serving hand of senior Natalie Albright where she had two service aces to help narrow the Babson lead to 21-15. However, a Williams error gave Babson back the ball, and this proved to be all the Beavers needed to cruise to the 25-17 victory. Williams was led by two kills each from Olivia Hindy and Kiley Wallace.
Play for the second match was more even. The turning point appeared to be when Babson broke a 7-7 tie with a kill from freshman Laura Zuloaga. Again, the strong serving of Jordan Lapins helped expand the Babson lead to 11-7. A timeout from Williams and kill from Kiley Wallace turned the tide, and the Ephs proceeded to go on a run of their own. Led by the serving of Lydia Kurtz, the Ephs rallied behind two Babson errors and another kill from Kiley Wallace to tie the set at 11-11. The set was played closely until Babson capitalized on a kill from Jordan Lapins and a kill from Laura Zuloaga. These two kills gave Babson the 19-15 lead and the confidence to never let the Ephs get closer than four points. Although Williams was unable to narrow the Babson lead, the Ephs had remarkable hustle and digs to keep the plays alive. Ultimately, the Beavers' attack was too powerful for the Ephs, and Babson was victorious, 25-20.
For this match, Babson leaders were: junior Allie Puccio with thirteen kills, Elizabeth Cameron with thirty-one assists, and junior Cassidy Witten with ten digs. Williams leaders were: Kiley Wallace with seven kills, Alexandra Newton with fourteen assists, and Alexandra Newton and senior Daiana Takashima with eleven digs each.
Williams plays next on Saturday, October 19th when they take on MIT and Springfield College for the second day of the New England Challenge. The MIT match will be played at 11:00 A.M. EDT while the Springfield match will be played at 3:30 P.M. EDT.