Volleyball team sweeps Southern Maine at home

Catie Sanchez and the Bates volleyball team defeated Southern Maine 3-0 on Oct. 24, 2019. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates volleyball team recorded its second-best attack percentage of the season in a 3-0 non-conference victory over the University of Southern Maine on Thursday in Alumni Gymnasium, rolling to win by set scores of 25-8, 25-15, 25-13.

USM (13-14) dipped under the .500 mark with the loss, while Bates (15-7) has its most victories since finishing 16-9 in 2009. The teams last met on Sept. 17, a 3-1 Bates win in Gorham.

Sophomore Sydney Phillips (Plainville, Mass.) led the Bobcats with 10 kills and no attack errors on 17 attempts for a .588 attack percentage. Junior Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) added eight kills on 13 attempts with two errors (.462) to go with two solo blocks and two service aces. Senior Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) notched a match-high 14 digs to go with eight kills on 16 attempts (.500). Junior Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) pitched in with six kills and no errors on 13 attempts (.462) and seven digs.

Bates setters senior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) and first-year Emma Eide (Ramsey, N.J.) recorded 18 assists apiece and a combined 15 digs. Sophomore Megan Seabury (Santa Barbara, Calif.) notched nine digs in just one set for the Bobcats.

Megan Gettings led the Huskies with seven kills against three errors on 28 attempts (.143). Molly Mawhinney posted a match-high 17 digs to go with one block and three kills, and Sophie Lindsay tallied 12 assists.

The Bobcats started off the match with a rout in the first set, limiting the Huskies to only three kills on 20 attack attempts while hitting at a match-best .476 percentage, as seven different players recorded kills. Bates notched nine of its 14 service aces in the opening set, including three by Lightbourn and two apiece by Echipue and senior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.). USM got out to a 2-0 lead before a kill by Phillips gave the ball to Lightbourn for seven straight serves and a 7-2 lead. A kill by Jamie Jannarone returned serve to USM, but Bates got it right back with a kill by Stafford-Smith, and Echipue's back-to-back aces led off a string of seven straight serves as Bates mounted a 14-3 lead. Bates continued to increase its lead until Eustache finished off the set with four straight serves, earning the last two points with aces.

Bates seized a 4-0 lead in the second set with a kill by Lightbourn, a block by Echipue and consecutive kills by Phillips. Bates' lead grew to 14-7 on a kill by senior Samantha Schecter (Riverside, Conn.) before USM closed the gap to 14-11 with four consecutive points, equaling its biggest run of the night, including kills by Kylee Austin and Lindsay. Bates returned the lead to five points with back-to-back kills by Echipue, however, and USM could get no closer than within five points the rest of the way. Eustache again clinched the set with an ace.

The Bobcats took early control of the third set, getting two kills from Phillips, another by Stafford-Smith and an ace by junior Olivia McCulloch (Sunderland, Mass.) for a 4-0 lead. The Bobcats threatened to run away with the final set as consecutive attack errors by the Huskies made it 15-5. A kill by Joie Hared, followed by back-to-back kills from Gettings and a Bates attack error, brought USM within six at 15-9. But Bates responded with a kill by first-year Catie Sanchez (Pasadena, Calif.) for a side out, and Seabury served eight times in a row as the lead grew to 23-9. Echipue had two kills and a block in the decisive run, and she scored the final point of the night with her eighth kill.

On Saturday, Bates will host Trinity in a NESCAC match at 2pm, and the Bobcats will celebrate Senior Day for seniors Jordan Camarillo (Tucson, Ariz.), Eustache, Panepinto, Schecter and Stafford-Smith.