BABSON PARK, Mass. - The Keene State College volleyball team played two more matches that resulted in 3-0 scores on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium. The Owls beat Smith College (25-16, 25-16, 25-15) for their eighth consecutive sweep to open the day, but then fell to host Babson College (15-25, 21-25, 20-25).
- Keene State: 12-4
- Babson: 10-4
- Smith: 1-11
How It Happened - Smith
The Owls hit .276 overall and got 10 kills from Megan Palmer as they easily beat the Pioneers to open the day. Riley Bunker recorded 13 digs, three assists and three service aces, while Bailey Wilson had 28 assists, eight digs and five kills. Olivia Mathieu had seven kills, seven digs and hit .467.
KSC never trailed while winning the opening set of the day. A kill from Megan Palmer put the Owls ahead 4-2 and, later, a run of four consecutive points that included an ace from Cydnee Morgan made it 10-6. Keene State continued to have no trouble, as a kill from Wilson and ace from Bunker extended the lead to six (14-8). It was still a six point set (20-14) when the Owls scored five of the final seven points - all on kills - to end it. Palmer, Mathieu and Jennifer Severino had three straight to give KSC the 25-16 win.
It was close in the early-going of the second set as the teams split the first eight points. Smith was still within one after quickly rebounding from a 9-5 deficit, but the Owls pulled away after that. Kills from Ali McLoughlin and Niamh Dodd restored a 14-10 lead, and the Owls continued pulling away, as they scored four straight points to go up 18-11. The closest the Pioneers got after that was 21-16, and KSC quickly ended the set by again scoring four in a row, capped by a kill from McLoughlin.
A pair of aces from Bunker and Wilson in the beginning stages of the third set helped power KSC to a 9-4 lead. From there, there were several big runs. Smith scored five consecutive points to even it at ten, only to see the Owls do the same thing right after. Leading 15-10, Keene State continued to pull away, as a pair of kills from Mathieu and one from Wilson put the Owls up nine (20-11). They did not have much difficulty closing out the set and the match, as a Kali Sequeira kill made it 23-14 and a pair of Smith errors cemented the sweep.
How It Happened - Babson
The Beavers hit .302 in the match, a season high for a KSC opponent, as the Owls fell in three sets for the first time this season. Palmer had 11 more kills and Bunker racked up 21 more digs. Wilson had 21 asissts and four digs. Babson got double-digit kills from Allie Puccio (14) and Avery Tronson (10).
The Beavers raced out to an 11-3 lead to open the first set and were never significantly threatened after that. Keene State got within 11-6 after a Mathieu kill and 14-9 after a Babson error, but the Beavers quickly restored the lead, going up 19-11 on an ace from Catherine Hunter. Kills from Tronson and Hunter gave them the set.
The second set was much closer, as a pair of errors had the Owls out in front 6-5 in the early-going. Babson scored five consecutive points to reassume the lead, but kills from Wilson and Palmer helped get KSC back within one at 13-12. The Beavers stretched their advantage to a set-high six (20-14) after a kill from Puccio, but the Owls rallied, as kills from Palmer, Dodd, and Mathieu made it 20-17. KSC was still within 22-19 and 24-21, but could not get over the hump and a kill by Gaby Miller gave Babson the set.
The Owls took their biggest lead of the match after opening the third set by scoring five of the first seven points, but the Beavers went on a 7-1 run and never trailed again. Trailing by three, the Owls used a kill from Palmer and a pair of aces to rally back for a tie (12-12), only to see the hosts record four consecutive kills. Babson stretched the lead to 20-13 and, later, 24-15 on another kill from Tronson. KSC warded off match point five consecutive times, including two kills from Palmer, to get within 24-20, but an Owls attack error ended any hope of a comeback.
- The Owls improved to 8-2 in the all-time series against Smith. KSC had not played Babson since 2011 before today. The Beavers have won three of the five meetings.
- Bunker now has 1715 digs in her career as she continues to inch toward the top spot on the all-time career list. Sarah Peterson '08 had 1883.
- Palmer has had double-digit kills in ten matches so far this season, including three straight.
- Keene State returns to conference play with a home match against Plymouth State University on Tuesday, September 25 at 7:00 pm.
- Babson travels to Coast Guard Academy next Saturday, September 29 for a NEWMAC match that begins at 12:00 pm.
- Smith, also in the NEWMAC, will host conference foe Wellesley College on Tuesday at 7:00 pm.