Volleyball team sharp in 3-0 NESCAC win at Colby

Taylor Stafford-Smith (center) and Angel Echipue (left) led the Bates volleyball team to a 3-0 win at Colby on Sept. 22, 2017. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Bates volleyball team attacked at its best percentage since the opening day of the season, winning its first NESCAC match of the season by a 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-21) scores at Colby Friday night.

Bates (4-5, 1-2 NESCAC) withstood Colby's best set with a 26-24 win in the first frame; the Bobcats attacked at a .312 clip in the opening set, while the host Mules were at .361. But Bates tied the set at 24-24 on a bad set by the Mules, took the 25-24 lead on a kill by first-year Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany), and assumed a 1-0 lead on first-year Ruby Lightbourn's (Los Angeles, Calif.) service ace.

Bates battled to another 26-24 win in the second set. The Bobcats built a 17-12 lead, but the Mules came back to take a 23-22 lead. Bates earned its last two points on a kill by sophomore Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) and clinched the 2-0 lead on a bad Colby set.

The Mules took a 12-6 lead in the third set before Bates ripped off nine straight points while senior Augy Silver (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) served. The Bobcats finished out the set and the match on an 8-4 run, featuring three kills apiece by Stafford-Smith and junior Claire Naughton (Darien, Conn.), and finished off by an Echipue kill.

Stafford-Smith led the Bobcats with 13 kills and two errors on 30 attempts (.367), adding 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Echipue posted 10 kills with two errors on 21 attempts (.381), to go with a season-high six blocks (two solo). Naughton added eight kills with one error on 18 attempts (.389).

Senior Jacqueline Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) distributed 30 assists over three sets and added eight digs. Sophomore Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) led the team with 18 digs.

Paige Hansen tied a 17-year-old Colby record with 22 kills on 55 attempts in a three-set match for the Mules. Elizabeth Middlebrook added 13 kills and 10 digs. The Mules dropped to 2-6 overall and 0-3 in NESCAC play.

Bates returns to action Tuesday 7pm at Maine Maritime Academy.