Volleyball Falls to No. 25 Babson in Road NEWMAC Tilt

Natalia Wierzbicki - 2021 WPI Volleyball

Babson Park, MA --- WPI volleyball suffered a 3-0 defeat to No. 25 Babson in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Tuesday evening at Staake Gymnasium.

The loss drops the Engineers to 9-4, with all four defeats coming in conference play (1-4). Babson is now 12-1 overall and 4-1 in the NEWMAC.

WPI kept things close in the opening set. They cut a six-point deficit to just one with back to back kills from Natalia Wierzbicki (Wareham, MA) and Olivia Deckers (Marlboro, MA), but were unable to tie the set. Babson scored eight of the next ten points and closed out a 25-18 win with a kill from Laura Zuloaga (Naples, FL) and back to back service aces from Tatum Stelter (Glendale, AZ).

The Beavers wasted no time jumping out to an 8-3 lead in the second set and never led by less than four points from then on. They closed out the game with four straight points to take a 2-0 lead in the match, hitting at a .222 clip - their best attacking game of the night.

WPI had their best hitting game in the third set, racking up 12 kills and hitting .219, but despite their attacking prowess and holding Babson to .114, the Beavers were able to complete the sweep. The Engineers led 19-18 in the third after a kill by Amanda Wetmore (Hudson, NH), who led the team with 13 kills on the night.

Babson tied the game on a kill by Ruby Reich (Atlanta, GA) and then scored five straight points before eventually closing out the match on a kill by Zuloaga. Maggie Murray (Yarmouth, ME) had three of her four kills during that final spurt for the Beavers.

Catherine Reynolds (Concord, NH) had a double-double for WPI with 23 assists and 16 digs, along with four block assists. Kaleigh Hess (Berea, KY) had three kills and two blocks, while Deckers had a team-high three service aces.

Murray was one of three Beavers with four kills, joined by Jordan Lapins (Calgary, Alberta) and Allie Puccio (New Hartford, NY), while Zuloaga led the team with six. Reich had 22 assists and five digs for Babson, who was led defensively by Jacalyn Pell (Milton, GA) and Maddie Malee (Orlando, FL) with 13 kills apiece. Pell added four aces to lead the Beavers. 

The Engineers will face another stiff test on Saturday when they head to Springfield to play the Pride, who were at the top of the list of teams receiving votes in this week's AVCA poll. That match is set to begin at 2pm.

Babson, who has now won three straight after suffering their only loss of the year to Springfield, will host Clark on Saturday at 1pm.