Blue Volleyball Downs Babson, Advances to NEWMAC Semis

WELLESLEY, Mass. – The Wellesley College volleyball team notched a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-20) victory over Babson in the first round of the 2011 NEWMAC Tournament on Tuesday evening at the Keohane Sports Center. The win advances the #3 Blue (22-8) to the NEWMAC Quarterfinals to play #2 Coast Guard on Saturday at Springfield. #6 Babson sees its 2011 campaign come to an end at 17-13.

Wellesley grabbed an early lead in set one, when a five point serving run from Traci Hamanaka gave the Blue a 13-6 advantage. The Beavers made a late surge, courtesy of four points from Kathleen Lynch, but the Blue closed out the set 25-16.

The Blue carried the momentum into game two, building what would become a 20-12 lead. The Beavers answered by winning seven of the nine rallies to pull to within three at 22-19, but Wellesley held on for a 25-20 win.

Wellesley took the early lead in set three as well, opening a 16-8 advantage. Babson once again battled back, cutting the lead to 23-20, but Wellesley secured the set and the sweep with a tandem block from Isabel Custodio and Megan Mills for a 25-20 win.

Babson was led by 13 kills from Meg Flaherty, while Kseniya Stepanova added eight. Lynch dished out 25 assists, adding two service aces. Defensively, Karla Flores recorded 11 digs, while at the net Flaherty and Ashley Strangio each contributed a block.

For Wellesley, Sydney Carfagno led all players with 13 kills and four aces, with Caitlin Laughlin chipping in seven kills. Amanda Duritsch, playing in her final home game, recorded six blocks and also added five kills without an error. Custodio filled out the stat sheet with 23 assists, seven digs and three blocks, while Hamanaka contributed a match-high 13 digs.

Wellesley's semifinal match-up on Saturday will be played at 3:30pm on the campus of Springfield College. Coast Guard took the first meeting between the teams, doling out a 3-0 sweep of the Blue on October 25th. Saturday's other tournament match features #4 MIT and #1 Springfield, with the semifinal winners meeting in the finals on Sunday at 1:00pm.