MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Sophomore Ruby Lightbourn tallied 13 kills and junior Taylor Stafford-Smith added 10 kills and a team-high 20 digs but the Bates volleyball team fell 3-1 (25-21, 6-25, 21-25, 22-25) at Wesleyan University Saturday afternoon.
Maddie Kurke totaled a match-high 19 kills on to help lead Wesleyan (13-2, 8-0 NESCAC) to the come-from-behind victory over Bates (9-6, 3-5 NESCAC).
The first set featured back-and-forth play throughout. Tied at 14-14, Bates went on a 4-0 run to take a lead and never looked back. The run started with back-to-back kills from sophomore Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.), she finished with seven kills overall to go along with five digs. The Cardinals cut the deficit to two, 20-18, but it wasn't enough as the Bobcats scored five of the final eight points, including a kill from Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) that set up set point.
The Cardinals took control of the second frame by jumping out a 5-0 lead and later they scored 11 straight points to go ahead, 21-4. Kurke recorded the final kill to even the match at 1-1. The Cardinals recorded 16 kills on 31 attempts without registering an error in the second set, which is good for a .516 hitting percentage.
Bates remained composed, however, and the third set featured more back-and-forth action. Wesleyan led for most of the frame early on until an attack error by the home team knotted the score up at 11-11. Shortly after, four consecutive kills by Kurke gave the Cardinals a 20-17 lead. After a 3-0 run by Bates, Wesleyan responded by scoring five of the final six points en route to the win.
The fourth set featured more thrilling action with Bates leading early on by a count of 8-3. But another kill by Kurke gave the Cardinals its first lead at 11-10. It was short-lived, however, as the set saw nine ties down the stretch. Tied at 20-20, it was Kurke once again that helped pull Wesleyan ahead she tallied three-straight kills followed by a Stasie Litinsky kill that put the home team up by four, 24-20. Bates scored twice to cut the deficit to two, but Kaira Muraoka-Robertson put the match away with a kill for the final point.
Kurke, who hit .359, was joined in double-figures by Litinsky with 10 kills. Nicole Hilton finished with eight and Harper Graves totaled seven with an attack clip of .467. Muraoka-Robertson tied a season-high with 43 assists and added 11 digs. Phia Bellizzi recorded a season-high 34 digs and Jenna Otaola added 16. Emma Robin finished with seven block assists and the Cardinals totaled 24 as a team.
Junior captain Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) recorded 37 assists and 15 digs. Four Bobcats recorded double-digit digs as junior captain Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) had 16 and first-year Megan Seabury (Santa Barbara, Calif.) recorded 14. Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) tallied seven digs to go with her team-high 13 kills. She also recorded a service ace and dished out a pair of assists.
The Bobcats are back in action Tuesday when they travel to Bowdoin for a non-conference match that gets underway at 7pm.