Stafford-Smith, Lightbourn lead volleyball past Maine Maritime

Ruby Lightbourn had 13 kills on 24 attempts in Bates' 3-0 victory over Maine Maritime Academy on Oct. 10, 2018. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Taylor Stafford-Smith posted 14 kills and sophomore Ruby Lightbourn added 13 as the Bates volleyball team defeated Maine Maritime Academy 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 27-25) Wednesday night, ending the Mariners' seven-match winning streak.

Maine Maritime (13-5) competed with Bates (8-5) toe-to-toe in the first and third sets. The Mariners led as late as 21-20 in the first set and 25-24 in the third. A kill by Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) tied the final set at 25-25, and consecutive attack errors by MMA clinched the win for the hosts.

First-year outside hitter Rachel Melampy was a major force for the Mariners, posting 19 kills on 37 attempts (.351), including 10 kills in the final frame. She added a team-high seven digs. Jessica D'Auria totaled seven kills and Sydney Adams handed out 33 assists.

Stafford-Smith attacked with superior efficiency for Bates, getting 14 kills with only one error on 26 attempts, for a .500 attack percentage. Stafford-Smith led the Bobcats in the first set with six kills and in the third set with five.

Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) racked up her most kills and at her highest efficiency since the season opener, getting 13 kills against five errors on 24 attempts (.333) while also providing excellent back-row passing and leading the squad with two service aces.

Bates' Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) totaled 36 assists and five digs, and junior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) had a team-high eight digs in a match that featured a combined 19 service errors and few rallies.

After falling 25-23 in the first set despite a greater attack percentage (.280 to .259), the Mariners' efforts flagged in the second set while Bates turned theirs up. MMA committed 11 attack errors against six kills, allowing the Bobcats to take a 2-0 lead. Lightbourn led the Bobcats with five kills in the set, and Bates came up with three of their four blocks on the night in the second set.

MMA setter Adams turned to Melampy time and again in the third set, giving her 17 attempts which turned into 10 kills. After consecutive kills by Melampy and D'Auria gave MMA the 25-24 lead, Bates called timeout. Stafford-Smith evened the score with a kill down the line, returning the serve to Panepinto for the final two points of the night.

Bates will play its next six matches on the road, starting with a NESCAC match Friday 8pm at Connecticut College. Maine Maritime will play at NAC opponent Northern Vermont-Lyndon Saturday at 10am.