WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bates volleyball team continued its hot start to the season with a 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 27-25, 25-19) win at Brandeis Friday night.
Bates (5-0) jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set and never trailed, taking it, 25-17. It was the Judges (1-6) who opened strong in the second, taking a 9-1 advantage. The Bobcats battled back and eventually took a 22-21 lead on a service ace from first-year Emma Eide (Ramsey, N.J.), but Brandeis won the next two thanks to a kill by Emma Bartlett and a block by Amelia Oppenheimer and Marissa Borgert. The Bobcats got the first set point after a block of their own and a kill from senior Samantha Schecter (Riverside, Conn.), but Brandeis answered with an Oppenheimer kill and two Bates errors to take the second set, 26-24.
Bates grabbed a 7-0 lead in the third set thanks to a terrific service string by junior Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) that included four aces. After she finally made an error, the Bobcats scored three more to take a 10-1 lead. Brandeis clawed closer on the serve of Belle Scott, cutting a 16-7 deficit to 16-13. With the set tied at 20, Bates won the next two points, and the Judges were able to survive two set points at 24-22 and another at 25-24 before a pair of late attacking errors gave the Bobcats a 27-25 win and 2-1 lead.
In the fourth set, Bates scored the first three points, with Brandeis netting the next three. The Bobcats answered with three more in a row, including a kill and an ace by Lightbourn to take a 6-3 lead, and they held off the Judges the rest of the way. The Judges were within 21-19, but Bates closed out the match with the final four points to claim the victory.
Bates had a balanced attack, with six players posting between six and nine kills, paced by nine each from junior Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and sophomore Sydney Phillips (Wrentham, Mass.). Mayfield hit for a match-high .278 percentage, making just three errors in 30 attempts, while Phillips topped the Bobcats with five blocks. Senior captain Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) led all players with 22 digs, while senior captain Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) had a match-high 25 assists. Lightbourn had a fine all-around match with seven kills, six service aces and 14 digs.
For the Judges, Bartlett led the way with a match-high 12 kills. She made just three errors in 35 attacks for a .257 hitting percentage. She also added 11 digs and seven blocks. Oppenheimer recorded 10 kills and Borgert led the Judges with 22 assists and 17 digs.
The Bobcats are off to their first 5-0 start since the 2014 season.
Bates takes on St. Joseph's College at 1pm and Rivier at 3pm Saturday in Nashua, N.H.