Stafford-Smith, Naughton lead volleyball in home opener vs. Tufts

Julia Panepinto and Angel Echipue go up for a block during Bates' home opener against Tufts on Sept. 14, 2018. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Maddie Stewart had nine kills and Cate Desler added eight to lead Tufts University to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-18) victory over the Bates College volleyball team in the NESCAC opener for both teams Friday night in Alumni Gym.

The Jumbos (5-2, 1-0 NESCAC) controlled the match despite relatively close scores, maintaining the lead nearly through the entirety of each set. Bates' last lead in the first set was 3-2; the Jumbos led wire to wire in the second set, and Bates' lone lead in the third set was at 1-0.

Taylor Stafford-Smith had a match-high 10 kills for Bates with seven errors on 30 attempts (.100). Claire Naughton tallied seven kills on an efficient 13 attempts (.462). Ruby Lightbourn, Samantha Schecter and Angel Echipue added four kills apiece. Julia Panepinto totaled 27 assists and seven digs, while Gabi Eustache totaled a match-high 18 digs.

Stewart made only two attack errors on 20 attempts (.350); she also added five blocks (three solo). Heather Holz made five kills with no errors on seven attempts (.714) and added three blocks. Sophia Acker (13 digs) and Desler (10 digs) led the back-row defense for Tufts, while Rachel Furash (15 assists) and Ariel Zedric (nine assists) paced the offense as setters.

Bates will host Bowdoin at 2pm on Saturday; Tufts visits Colby Saturday at 1pm.