Springfield, Mass. - October 17, 2017 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team let a two-set lead slip away as visiting Babson College rallied for a five-set win in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Tuesday night in Blake Arena.
The Beavers won by the scores of 16-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-8 to improve to 17-4, 6-2 in conference play. The loss dropped Springfield to 14-8, 5-4.
Jen Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) carried the offensive load for Springfield, totaling a match-high 19 kills to go along with a team-best 20 digs. Both Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) and Hannah Andres (West Barnstable, Mass.) had seven kills and Bridget Walsh (Garrison, N.Y.) produced a match-best six blocks. Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) was credited with 16 digs and the duo of Daniela Detore (Lake Grove, N.Y.) and Kayley Cimino (Cumberland, Maine) combined for 36 assists.
For Babson, Allie Puccio tallied 18 kills, Gabby Miller pitched in 14, and Abby Beecher registered a match-high 22 digs. Elizabeth Cameron led the Beavers offense with 51 assists, 13 digs, and three of the visitors eight aces.
Springfield gained an early 5-3 lead on a big swing from Helgesen in transition and pushed its advantage to 12-6 when an overpass kill by Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) capped off a 5-0 surge. Babson would get as close as two on three occasions, only to have Springfield use a 5-1 push after a huge stuff from Helgesen and Bancroft to regain a 20-14 lead. Springfield, which hit .407 in the set, took the 25-16 win following the Beavers ninth attack error of the set.
Springfield put together a 4-0 run early in the second set, getting a kill down the line from Bancroft, to extend a 10-8 cushion. After an ensuing service error, Springfield's block came alive and put together three-straight stuffs, including a pair by Walsh, as the Pride took a 15-9 lead. The hosts advantage grew to 20-13 on a Walsh service ace, but Babson battled right back with a 7-1 run as Springfield burned both of its timeouts. Andres chipped the block out of the timeout, and kickstarted a 4-0 run to hand the Pride a 25-20 win.
Donnelly bounced an overpass to give Springfield a 3-0 lead in the third, and after opening up a 6-2 lead, Springfield fell victim to a 5-0 Babson burst to trail for the first time in the frame. Walsh would put Springfield back on top when she crushed a ball in system at 17-15, but the hosts called for a timeout following consecutive points by the visitors. Out of the break, Springfield scored the next three points, with another Andres kill allowing the Pride to gain a 20-17 edge. After Helgesen tipped a kill over Babson's block at 23-21, the Beavers manufactured a 5-1 run to close out a 26-24 win.
In the fourth, Springfield dug itself into a 9-5 hole and the Beavers lead ballooned to 21-12. Despite a three-point run by the Pride, Babson would coast to the 25-16 win as they totaled 16 kills in the set, hitting at a .278 clip.
Donnelly ripped a pair of kills to open the fifth, a frame that saw six ties in the early going. After a Babson service error allowed Springfield to take an 8-7 lead at the switch, the Beavers took advantage of three Pride attack errors in the next four points to fuel a set-ending 8-0 run for the comeback win.
Springfield will battle three of the top teams in the region in the New England Challenge when it battles Williams, Middlebury, and Tufts at Williams College.