LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior outside hitter Taylor Stafford-Smith's 11 kills led the Bates volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 28-26) sweep of NESCAC rival Trinity College as the Bobcats celebrated Senior Day in Alumni Gym.
Bates (16-7, 4-4 NESCAC) won for the fifth time in six matches and has its most victories since the 16-9 team of 2009. The Bobcats wrap up the regular season next weekend at Tufts on Friday night and at Bowdoin Saturday at 2pm. Bates pulled into a tie with Middlebury for sixth place in the NESCAC.
Senior Colette Scheffers led Trinity (7-15, 0-9 NESCAC) with six kills on only eight attempts (.750), to go with five digs and a block. Jessica Yang tallied 12 assists, seven digs and a pair of service aces, and Paola Matos led the Bantams with eight digs. Wyllie Bougton posted four kills and a match-high five blocks (two solo).
In her 34th and final home match in Alumni Gym, Stafford-Smith led Bates with 11 kills against two errors on 34 attempts (.265), and added eight digs, an assist and a solo block. She leads all active Bobcats with 714 career kills. Senior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) passed out 22 assists and added seven digs, while first-year setter Emma Eide (Ramsey, N.J.) contributed 11 assists, four digs, three kills and three aces.
Sophomore Sydney Phillips (Plainville, Mass.) totaled eight kills and added four blocks for Bates. Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) had an efficient afternoon with seven kills and one error on 10 attempts (.600), and fellow junior middle hitter Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) posted six kills and four blocks. Senior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) and junior Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the back row defense with 14 and 13 digs, respectively.
All five Bates seniors contributed to the win. Senior right-side hitter Samantha Schecter (Riverside, Conn.) had three kills, two assists, one dig and a block, and senior defensive specialist Jordan Camarillo (Tucson, Ariz.) tallied an ace and three digs.
Bates committed only four attack errors as the Bobcats romped through the first two sets, more than doubling the Bantams' score in that span. The Bobcats attacked at a .378 clip in the first set and .333 in the second, compared to .069 and .067 for the visiting Bantams.
The third set stood in stark contrast to the first two, with Bates seeming to lose a measure of focus and a reshuffled Bantam lineup giving the visitors a jolt. Boughton had all all four of her kills as well as a pair of blocks in the set, and Kamila Zygadlo came off the bench to post three kills and five digs.
The score was tied 10 times in the third set. Bates held a short lead from 7-6 to 14-13. A kill by Lightbourn, followed by a Trinity attack error, opened Bates' lead up to 21-18, prompting a Trinity timeout. A kill by Brianna Brown and an ace by Yang closed it to 21-20, but a kill by Echipue and a block by Echipue and Phillips returned the lead to 23-20.
Trinity called timeout again and rallied for three straight points, with kills by Brown and Zygadlo and a Bates attack error, and the Bobcats called timeout for the first time of the afternoon with the score tied at 23-23. A kill by Zygadlo, followed by a block from Boughton and Ally Conde, gave Trinity a 25-24 lead, its first since 4-3.
Another block by Boughton and Zygadlo gave the Bantams a 26-25 edge before Bates rallied for three in a row. A pair of kills by Stafford-Smith bookended a kill by Mayfield as the hosts sealed the conference win.