Panepinto earns spot on All-Tournament team, volleyball wins two of three at Wheaton College Invitational

Julia Panepinto earned a spot on the All-Tournament team at the 2018 Wheaton College Invitational. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Julia Panepinto earned a spot on the All-Tournament team and the Bates volleyball team split a pair of matches on Saturday to finish 2-1 at the Wheaton College Invitational.

Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) averaged nine assists per set over the course of three matches this weekend. She added nine kills, three service aces and 18 digs. 

"I can't overstate how well Julia played this weekend," Bates head coach Melissa DeRan said. "She was in command of our offense and made some truly amazing things happen on the court. I'm incredibly proud of how she led our team." 

The Bobcats (2-1) defeated Worcester State 3-0 on Saturday before dropping a very close 3-0 match to Wheaton College. This came on the heels of a 3-0 win over Farmingdale State on Friday. 

Bates 3, Worcester State 0 (25-11, 26-24, 25-18)

Junior Taylor Stafford-Smith recorded a match-high 13 kills and tallied 11 digs to lead the Bates volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Worcester State on Saturday.

Fellow junior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) added a match-high 16 digs and sophomore Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) added eight kills, a match-high four service aces and 15 digs. Panepinto dished out a match-high 26 assists and tallied nine digs. 

After winning the first set by a count of 25-11, the Bobcats found themselves down 23-20 in the second. A Worcester State service error followed by an attack error cut the deficit to one. Then senior Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) recorded a kill to tie things up at 23. After a Bates attack error, the Bobcats found themselves facing game point. But Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) recorded a huge kill to even the match at 24. A Worcester State attack error followed by a Lightbourn kill clinched the set for Bates.

With the score tied at 16 in the third set, the Bobcats went on a 6-0 run to create some breathing room on their way to a 25-18 win. Senior Claire Naughton (Darien, Conn.) tallied a service ace to end the match. 

Natalie Gillis paced Worcester State with 10 kills and Allie Nolan recorded 24 assists.

Wheaton (Mass.) 3, Bates 0 (29-27, 27-25, 25-22)

Lightbourn recorded 10 kills, five service aces and 12 digs as the Bates volleyball team gave Wheaton College on they could handle in a 3-0 loss Saturday afternoon to wrap up the Wheaton College Invitational. 

Eustache and Stafford-Smith recorded 22 and 13 digs respectively while Panepinto dished out 22 assists.

The Bobcats got off to a hot start against Wheaton (7-1) in the first set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. But Wheaton responded with a run and eventually the teams found themselves tied at 10. Wheaton took a 19-11 lead before Bates rallied to grab a 25-24 edge on a kill from junior Samantha Schecter (Riverside, Conn.). The teams went back-and-forth until Nikita Selivan tallied two straight kills to clinch the set for Wheaton by a count of 29-27.

The second set proved to be just as close as the first. The Bobcats took a 13-8 lead but Wheaton went on a 7-0 run to take a 15-13 lead. Three Wheaton attack errors mixed in with a Lightbourn ace put Bates back on top by a count of 17-15. The teams continued to battle with Bates staving off set point with a Lightbourn kill to tie it at 25. But a service error followed by an Adara Hamilton kill secured the set for Wheaton.

Bates once again got off to a strong start in the third set, going up by a count of 5-0 and maintaining that edge all the way to 20-15 before 4-0 Wheaton run cut the Bates lead to one. A Lightbourn kill put the Bobcats up 22-20. Then Wheaton ended the match with a 5-0 run, capped off by a Selivan kill and a Bates attack error.

Claire Cansler paced Wheaton with 11 kills and Becca Houghton dished out 33 assists.

The Bobcats are back in action Tuesday when they visit Southern Maine for a match that gets underway at 7pm.