Volleyball earns 3-1 NESCAC win at Connecticut College

Taylor Stafford-Smith's third double-double of the season (12 kills, 22 digs) helped Bates win 3-1 at Connecticut College on Oct. 12, 2018. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

NEW LONDON, Conn. -- Junior Taylor Stafford-Smith had 12 kills and a season-high 22 digs as the Bates volleyball team won 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 11-25, 26-24) at Connecticut College in a NESCAC match Friday night.

The Bobcats (9-5, 3-4) won for the fourth time in their past five matches and will play at Wesleyan University Saturday at 2pm.

Sophomore Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) totaled nine kills and 13 digs for Bates. Sophomore Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) posted seven kills and junior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) totaled 36 assists to go with seven digs. Junior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) shared the team lead with 22 digs.

Bates prevailed in four sets despite the host Camels' (7-11, 1-6 NESCAC) better attack percentage, .143 to .109.

The final set was tied at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, and 24-24. But the Bobcats caught a break to regain the lead, as Panepinto's touch on the ensuing serve receive made its way over the net and dropped for a point. A Camel attacking error on match point allowed the Bobcats. to clinch the win.

Bates went an early 8-2 run to take a 9-4 advantage in the opening set with Panepinto leading the way. The setter registered two aces and added a pair of assists during the stretch to force the Camels to burn a timeout. Connecticut College stormed back and took a 16-15 lead on a Howley kill, but the Bobcats recovered out of a timeout of their own by getting back-to-back kills from Stafford-Smith. An attacking error by the Camels allowed the visitors to win the opening set by a 25-21 margin.

The second set was a nip-and-tuck battle which featured 11 ties and four exchanges of the lead. But after the Camels teamed up for a block to deadlock the match at 17s, Bates rattled off four straight points and never loked back. Stafford-Smith put things away by finishing consecutive feeds from Panepinto.

The Camels, however, owned the third set in what would prove to be the most lopsided one of the evening between the teams. Five attacking errors by the Bobcats allowed the hosts to jump out to a 9-2 advantage, and the margin ballooned to double digits at 16-6 when Light smashed a kill.

Grace McGee handed out 52 assists for the hosts as four hitters totaled nine or more kills. Katie Howley led the way with 15 kills but they were offset by 10 errors. Emma Hewlin had 13 kills with three errors (.312), while Avery Light and Jenny Kellogg added 11 and nine kills, respectively.