Volleyball wins back-to-back matches to begin season at Vassar Invitational

Senior Augy Silver tallied a total of nine aces over the course of two matches Friday night at the Vassar Invitational. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The Bates volleyball team defeated Medaille 3-0 and followed that up with a 3-1 victory over the University of New England Friday night at the Vassar Invitational.

The Bobcats (2-0) will take on King's (Pa.) at 1:00 and host Vassar at 3:00 Saturday afternoon to wrap up their season opening trip to Poughkeepsie. 
Bates 3, Medaille 0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-18)
 First-year middle hitter Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) led Bates with an impressive debut performance, notching nine kills with no attack errors in addition to two solo blocks and four service aces in a 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-18) win over Medaille College. 
Sophomore Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) led all players with 17 digs and four aces, and senior Jacqueline Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) amassed a match-high 32 assists, as Bates attacked at a .312 percentage for the match.
Junior Lauren Brough (Killingworth, Conn.) pounded eight kills and junior middle hitter Claire Naughton (Darien, Conn.) added six kills with no errors, while junior Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) added six kills and two solo blocks.
Melissa Postek led Medaille (0-6) with seven kills.
The Bobcats never trailed in the first two sets. In the third set, the Mavericks took a 7-4 lead but Murphy responded with a kill to cut the deficit to 7-5. After a Maverick error made it 7-6, Brough and sophomore Samantha Schecter (Riverside, Conn.) tallied back-to-back kills to put Bates up 8-7. 
The Mavericks didn't back down, going up 11-10 after a Bobcat service error. Then Brough tied things up with a kill and Echipue tallied back-to-back aces, putting Bates up 13-11.
After the Mavericks cut the lead to one, the Bobcats went on a 4-0 run to give themselves some breathing room. 
Echipue's ninth kill of the match clinched the victory for Bates. 
Bates 3, University of New England 1 (19-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-15)
Echipue and sophomore Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) led the way with 11 kills apiece in a 3-1 (19-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-15) Bobcat victory over the University of New England Friday night at the Vassar Invitational. 
After tallying two service aces against Medaille, senior Augy Silver (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) delivered a monster performance with seven aces against the Nor'easters (1-5), matching her career-high for service aces in one match. 
Forney led all players with 39 assists and Eustache added a match-high 19 digs in the win. 
Naughton added eight kills and first-year Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) chipped in seven kills and five digs. 
Paige Simoneau led the Nor'easters with seven kills.
UNE got off to a hot start against the Bobcats, taking the first set 25-19. The Bobcats trailed 10-4 early in the set before rallying to tie things up at 10.
With the score 14-13, the Nor'easters went on a 4-0 run to take command.
But the rest of the match played out very differently. 
In the second set, Bates took a 5-4 lead on a Naughton kill and never looked back. Holding on to a 16-11 lead, the Bobcats finished the set on an impressive 9-0 run to prevail 25-11.
The Bobcats led 5-4 in the third set before an Echipue kill began a 5-0 run. The 5-0 run included three service aces from Silver, putting Bates up 10-4 and forcing UNE to call timeout.
The Nor'easters cut the deficit to 11-7 before the Bobcats went on a 9-0 run to go up 20-7. The run was fueled by a number of UNE errors and a pair of Stafford-Smith kills.
By the time the fourth set came along, Bates had complete control of the match. And they showed it by opening the fourth set on a remarkable 13-1 run. The closest the Nor'easters got after that was to within eight points at 18-10. But the Bobcats responded with a 4-0 run, capped off by another Stafford-Smith kill. 
Murphy's fifth kill of the match, and 11th kill of the evening overall, put a bow on the victory for the Bobcats.