BOSTON - The Haverford College volleyball team registered a pair of 3-2 wins over Babson College and host University of Massachusetts Boston on Saturday at the Beacons Invitational.
The Fords (13-6) were the only squad to go undefeated among the five tournament participants on the opening day of the two-day invitational.
Haverford got off to a quick start against Babson (15-8) as the Fords, helped by a .364 hitting percentage, registered a dominating 25-9 first-set victory. After the Beavers edged the Fords in the second set (26-24), Haverford, powered by eight kills from sophomore Keri Godbe, registered another convincing win in set three (25-18).
Babson took the early lead in the fourth set but Haverford fought back to tie the score at 17-17. The score remained tight over the rest of the set but Babson hung on for a 25-23 victory.
The deciding set saw six deadlocks on the scoreboard as the two squads continued to battle. After an attack error by Babson provided the Fords with an opportunity for match point, sophomore Nina Mutty closed out a 17-15 victory with her seventh kill of the contest.
Taking match-high honors in kills, Godbe came up one short of equaling her career high with 26. The sophomore also paced the squad in digs with 21.
Haverford limited the Beavers, a regionally-ranked team in New England, to a mere .074 attack percentage in the match. Joining Godbe in reaching double figures in digs in the impressive defensive effort were Mutty (17 digs), Sarah Brody (15), Abby Keller (11) and Madison Fuelling (11). Freshman Elena Garcia tallied a career-high four block assists.
Mary Donahue and Brittany Goldschmidt led the Babson attack with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
The tournament schedule saw the Fords get right back on the court against UMass Boston. Haverford shook off any thoughts of fatigue and delivered one of its finest performances of the season against the host Beacons (10-11).
UMass Boston, owners of two NCAA regional titles in the last three years, claimed a first-set victory (25-17) but Haverford did not back down from the challenge of taking on the hosts.
The Fords responded with a 25-16 win in set two to tie the match and then continued to roll by registering six of the first seven points of the third set. Undeterred by a Beacons' rally, Haverford persevered and hung on for a 28-26 victory enabled by back-to-back kills from Meg O'Day.
Looking to win its fifth-straight Little East Conference tournament title this season, UMass Boston was not going to go away easily. The Beacons moved ahead 12-6 in the fourth set before the Fords slowly crept back to tie the score at 20-20. The two squads traded points several times down the stretch before UMass Boston extended the match with a 30-28 victory.
Playing its 10th set of the day, Haverford's determination never wavered as it went ahead 3-2 in the deciding set on a kill by Godbe and never looked back. The Beacons hoped to regain momentum by calling a timeout after the Fords increased their lead to four at 6-2 but Haverford continued to be aggressive on the attack. After UMass Boston pulled within one at 10-9, the Fords scored five of the final six points of the decisive set to earn a 15-10 win and claim the marathon match that lasted over two hours.
Godbe once again played a major role as she led the team in kills (22) and digs (23). O'Day contributed 19 kills and 4.5 of the team's six total blocks in the match.
Another solid defensive effort saw Brody (20 digs), Mutty (18) and Fuelling (11) join Godbe in reaching double digits in digs.
Julia Murphy led the Beacons in kills with 15 while Megan Pollock registered a match-high 56 assists. Elizabeth Glavan topped all players in digs with 39.
The final day of the tournament brings two more tough opponents as Haverford faces Endicott College at 10 a.m. on Sunday followed by a noon match against Colby-Sawyer College.