Women's Volleyball Knocks Off No. 20 Babson, 3-1
Springfield, Mass. - September 21, 2021 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team knocked of nationally-ranked Babson in four sets on Tuesday evening in Blake Arena in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) showdown. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-17, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20.
Entering the match, their were only nine teams in Division III women's volleyball with a record of 9-0 and better, and tonight's contest pitted two of them. Springfield, which was among the teams receiving votes in the AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, moved to 10-0, 3-0 in conference play while the Beavers, who were ranked 20th nationally, slipped to 9-1, 2-1.
First-year Natalie Billet (Commack, N.Y.) posted a match-high 16 kills at a .389 clip on the pin to go along with a match-best 21 digs, while both Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) and Ashley Tanner (Manorville, N.Y.) each turned in 11 kills. Claire Dorr (Massapequa, N.Y.) registered 19 digs, Kylie Wixted (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) recorded a career-high nine blocks, and Abigail Wright (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) delivered four of the Pride's 11 aces. Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) produced 30 assists, 12 digs, and four blocks in leading Springfield to a .260 hitting percentage.
For Babson, Allie Puccio notched 14 kills, Martina Jankovic Chin added 10 kills and three blocks, and Jordan Lapins picked up a team-best 16 digs. Babson hit .100 in the contest, with Caroline Applewhite and Ruby Reich combining for 35 helpers.
Springfield was dominant in the opening set, hitting .467 as a team, led by five kills from Bancroft. The hosts jumped out to a 12-5 lead when Bancroft found the back line in transition and would benefit from a block by Wixted and Taylor Harris (Canton, Mass.) at 21-10 as its lead ballooned to 11 points. An ace down the line from Wright would seal the 25-17 win as the Pride racked up 14 kills on 30 errorless attempts to start the contest.
In the second, Tanner registered a kill off the Babson block to give the Pride an 8-3 cushion. After Babson rattled off a 4-0 push to force the Pride into a timeout at 11-9, Springfield reeled off an 8-3 surge, capped off by an ace from Labadorf as the Beavers called for a timeout of their own. Out of the break, the Pride closed out the frame on a 6-2 run, as the Beavers committed three-straight attack errors in a set where they were held to a -.061 hitting percentage.
Billet and Puccio went back-and-forth in the third as each totaled six kills to pace their teams. The Pride was seemingly in control with a 20-14 edge following a kill from Harris, only to have Babson storm back with a 10-1 run to earn set point. Springfield would fight off two set points, only have Pucci give the visitors the 25-23 win on her 11th kill of the night.
Even at 9-9 in the fourth, Springfield broke open the set with a 8-3 scoring run, as Tanner's second ace of the evening put the Pride in command up 17-12. The Beavers would score four-straight points to pull within one, but Springfield held tough, getting a sideout kill from Bancroft and a huge block from Wixted and Labadorf to regain a three-point edge. A kill from Tanner, Springfield's 10th of the set, would allow the Pride to earn match point, and an attack error on the ensuing point completed the Pride's four-set victory.
Springfield will play another nationally-ranked team on Thursday in Blake Arena when it hosts No. 25 Tufts at 7 pm.
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Photo by Danielle Schmeling