No. 7 volleyball falls to No. 2 Wesleyan in NESCAC quarterfinals

Bates volleyball fell 3-0 to Wesleyan in the NESCAC Quarterfinals at Bowdoin on Nov. 2, 2018. (Brian Beard/Courtesy of Bowdoin)

BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The Bates volleyball team's fourth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC Championship playoffs ended in the quarterfinal round on Friday, as the seventh-seeded Bobcats fell 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-20) to second-seeded Wesleyan.

Mia Hogan had 12 kills, Stasie Litinsky had nine and Nicole Hilton added eight for the Cardinals (17-4), who advanced to Saturday's semifinal round.

The Bobcats finish 14-9, their best overall record since 2009.

Senior Claire Naughton (Darien, Conn.) led Bates in her final match with eight kills on 18 attempts (.222) and a pair of blocks. Sophomore Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) posted eight kills on 33 attempts (.061) and sophomore Sydney Phillips (Wrentham, Mass.) added seven kills on 24 attempts over two sets (.125).

The Cardinals were fueled by a 7-0 run in the first set to earn a commanding 25-15 win. Bates sophomore Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) recorded a kill to cut the deficit to three, 12-9, but the Cardinals rallied with seven unanswered to put the set out of reach. The Bobcats scored five of the next seven points, but it wasn't enough as a kill by Litinsky gave Wesleyan the 1-0 lead in the match.

Bates scored the first three points in the second set, led off by back-to-back kills by Naughton. But the Cardinals went on a 10-2 run to pull ahead, 17-12. The Bobcats cut the deficit to two, 20-18, but it was the closest they would get the rest of the way as Wesleyan closed out the set by scoring five of the next six points to win 25-19. Phillips led Bates with five kills on 14 attempts in the set. Naughton added four.

Bates came up with a match-high 15 kills in the third set and its best attack percentage of the night at .143, while junior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) tallied 13 digs. The Bobcats got within one, 11-10, but the Cardinals scored six unanswered points to all but seal the victory. Bates scored six of seven points to cut the deficit to four, 24-20, but the deficit was too much to overcome and a kill from Kaira Muraoka-Robertson sealed the victory for Wesleyan.

Muraoka-Robertson passed out 35 assists for Wesleyan and added 11 digs. Phia Bellizzi contributed 24 digs.

Panepinto finished with 30 assists and 12 digs. Eustache tallied a match-high 25 digs and sophomore Olivia McCulloch (Sunderland, Mass.) added 14 digs. Mayfield had a team-high three blocks in addition to five kills.