No. 22 Babson Hands No. 13 Volleyball First Setback of Season, 3-2, Saturday Morning

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite winning two sets in extra points, the No. 13 Tufts volleyball team suffered their first setback of the season, falling 3-2 to No. 22 Babson on Saturday afternoon in New England Challenge play. 

Senior Maddie Stewart finished with a career-high 21 kills

The Jumbos are now 17-1 after the setback, remaining 6-0 in NESCAC contests.  Babson improves to 23-1 overall and 6-1 in NEWMAC play. 

Babson jumped out to an early lead in the first set, and the Beavers were ahead 19-12 at one point.  The Jumbos rallied back and tied things at 21.  The Beavers got kills from Jordan Lapins and Laura Zuloaga, but the Jumbos answered with a kill from senior Christina Nwankpa.  After a Babson kill, the Jumbos were within one, 24-23, thanks to a Beaver service error.  But, a kill from Gaby Miller gave the Beavers the win in set one, 25-23.  

Once again it was the Beavers that took a lead in the second set, leading by as many as five.  Down 19-15 the Jumbos got a kill from senior Heather Holz and then two aces from freshman Anna Nachmanoff to come within one.  After a Babson timeout, junior Jennifer Ryan tied things at 19 with a kill for the Jumbos.  The two teams then traded points and the lead.  With the Beavers ahead 26-25, the Jumbos tied things with a kill from senior Maddie Stewart.  Then a kill from Nachmanoff and a Beaver error gave the Jumbos a 28-26 win in set two to even the match at one. 

The two teams traded points to start the third set.  With things locked at five the Beavers got a kill from Lapins and took advantage of two Jumbo errors to take an 8-5 lead.  They were able to hold on to that lead for the duration of the set.  Ahead 18-14 the Beavers scored eight unanswered points to take set three 25-14. 

The Jumbos took the lead early in the fourth set.  But, the Beavers fought back and tied things at seven and then took a lead of their own.  They held on to that lead for most of the rest of the set. Down 23-19 the Jumbos got a couple kills from Stewart and a Beaver error.  Then a kill from senior Heather Holz tied things at 23 and another kill from Stewart put the Jumbos ahead 24-23. Things were then tied at 24, 25, 26 and 27 before the Jumbos took advantage of a Beaver error and got an ace from Holz to take the fourth set, 29-27. 

It was the Jumbos that took the lead in the fifth set,and were ahead 5-3.  The Engineers scored seven straight points off the serve of Elizabeth Cameron to take a 10-6 lead and won the deciding fifth set 15-10 to win the match 3-2. 

Stewart was the offensive leader for the Jumbos, finishing with 21 kills and a couple of blocks.  Senior Brigid Bell added 14 kills and 12 digs and Nwankpa helped with 11 kills and a couple blocks.  Ryan added eight kills and two blocks.  Holz finished with six kills, two aces and four blocks.  Defensively, freshman Stephanie Lee collected 22 digs.  Senior Rachel Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric took care of the setting, finishing with 33 and 24 assists, respectively. 

Lapins was the offensive leader for the Beavers, finishing with 21 kills.  Allie Puccio added 17 kills and Zuloaga helped with ten kills.  Cassidy Witten was the defensive leader with 16 digs. Cameron took care of the setting, finishing with 55 assists.  

Both the Beavers and the Jumbos played again on Saturday.  Tufts faced off with MIT at 3:30 pm and the Beavers wrapped up tournament play with a match against Middlebury.