Rookie Sydney Phillips sparks volleyball's comeback win over Brandeis

Angel Echipue posted nine kills and a career-high eight blocks as Bates defeated Brandeis 3-1 on Sept. 22, 2018. (File photo by Samuel Mironko for Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- First-year outside hitter Sydney Phillips hadn't played since the season-opening match, but she came off the bench in the second set of Saturday's Bates volleyball match against Brandeis University, and turned the entire direction of the match around.

After the Judges took the first set in convincing fashion, Bates emerged victorious by a 3-1 (13-25, 25-20, 27-25, 27-25) score Saturday in Alumni Gym.

Phillips (Wrentham, Mass.) had only one set and two attack attempts in her young college career prior to Saturday's match, but she was inserted into the lineup to start the second set. Phillips recorded a kill to score Bates' second point of the set, and went on to record four more with no attack errors as the Bobcats evened the match at 1-1.

With junior setter Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) continuing to feed her, Phillips recorded six kills in the third set and five more in the fourth, finishing with 16 against two errors on 35 attempts (.400). She pitched in three blocks and five digs to Bates' cause.

Sophomore middle hitter Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) added nine kills and a career-high eight blocks for Bates (5-3), which won its second match in a row despite committing 14 service errors.

Emma Bartlett led the Judges with 14 kills on 37 attempts (.243), while Shea Decker Jacoby and Marissa Borgert added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. (Brandeis faced Colby following the Bates match and defeated the Mules 3-0 in Alumni Gym.)

Bates sophomore Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) contributed seven kills and a team-high and career-high 20 digs for the Bobcats. Panepinto passed out a career-high 45 assists to go with 12 digs and four blocks. Sophomore Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) posted a season-high seven kills.

Borgert and Decker-Jacoby combined for nine kills in the first set to stake the Judges to a 1-0 lead. Yvette Cho had nine digs in the set and the Judges made three blocks, holding Bates to a -.080 attack percentage.

Brandeis attacked at a .196 percentage in the set, but followed at .028 in the second, .051 in the third and .150 in the fourth. Bates rebounded to attack at a .333 rate in the second set, .257 in the third and .286 in the fourth.

The Judges led 18-15 in the second set before Bates reeled off eight straight points during Lightbourn's serve. Phillips had two kills in the streak and Echipue had a kill and two blocks. Brandeis scored two straight to narrow the deficit to 24-20, but Echipue and Phillips combined to block Belle Scott to win the set.

A kill by Decker-Jacoby followed by back-to-back aces for Cho gave Brandeis a 24-23 lead in the third set, prompting a Bates timeout. Panepinto then fed Phillips for back-to-back kills for a 25-24 Bates lead. Emerson White's kill tied the score at 25, but a Brandeis service error and attack error clinched the set for Bates and gave the hosts a 2-1 lead.

Bates kept it rolling to the tune of a 9-2 lead in the fourth set, but Brandeis rebounded to close the gap to 18-17, and eventually assumed a 21-20 lead after two straight aces by Decker-Jacoby. The teams took turns scoring back-to-back points until Brandeis drew within a point of winning the set (at 25-24) on the second of back-to-back kills by Bartlett. Panepinto then turned to Phillips for the kill to tie the score at 25-25. Senior Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) gave Bates a 26-25 lead with her fifth kill of the match, and Lightbourn finished off a rally with a kill to score match point.

Bates will host Middlebury Friday at 8pm.