Volleyball team falls 3-0 at No. 14 Tufts

Olivia McCulloch led Bates with seven kills in a 3-0 loss at Tufts on Nov. 1, 2019. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Playing their final weekend of the regular season, the Bates volleyball team fell in straight sets at No. 14 Tufts Friday night in Cousens Gym. The Jumbos were led by 10 kills and 15 digs from senior Brigid Bell.

With the win Tufts is 22-1 overall this season and 9-0 in NESCAC play. Bates falls to 16-8 overall and 4-5 in conference matches.

The Jumbos took the lead early in the first set, but the set remained close, as the Jumbos didn't lead by more than a couple points. With the score locked at 15 the Jumbos scored five straight points off the serve of senior Heather Holz to take a 20-15 lead. After a Bobcat point on a kill from junior Olivia McCulloch (Sunderland, Mass.), the Jumbos scored four more, this time off the serve of senior Rachel Furash. That gave them a 24-16 lead and they were able to pick up the 25-18 win in set one.

Once again, the Jumbos took the lead in the second set but the Bobcats hung with them. Ahead 13-10, the Jumbos pulled away scoring seven straight behind the serve of Stephanie Lee, including two kills from Maddie Stewart and an ace from Lee. That gave the Jumbos a 20-11 lead, and they moved to a 25-14 win in set two.

The first five points of the third set were scored by the Jumbos. They built a 22-10 lead when the Bobcats tried to work their way back in it. Bates scored five straight off the serve of senior Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) to come within six, 22-16. But the Jumbos took advantage of a Bates error and then got a kill from Jennifer Ryan. After a couple of Bobcat points, another kill from Ryan sealed the third set win, 25-18, to give the Jumbos the match win.

Stewart finished with nine kills and three blocks and Ryan tallied eight kills for Tufts. Holz, Christina Nwankpa and sophomore Cate Desler all finished with five kills. Holz added three blocks and Desler helped with 10 digs. Defensively, Lee tallied 18 digs to lead the Jumbos. Furash and sophomore Ariel Zedric ran the offense, finishing with 23 and 15 assists, respectively.

McCulloch was the offensive leader for the Bobcats, finishing with seven kills. Stafford-Smith added six and junior Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) and sophomore Sydney Phillips (Plainville, Mass.) each turned in four kills. Defensively, senior Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) collected 12 digs. Sophomore Megan Seabury (Santa Barbara, Calif.) helped with nine and senior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) added seven. Panepinto and first-yaer Emma Eide (Ramsey, N.J.) took care of the setting, as Panepinto finished with ten assists and Eide had 11.

Bates wraps up the regular season Saturday with a 2 pm match at Bowdoin.