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Bates Downs Volleyball in Three Sets

Annie Wibbelsman

LEWISTON, Maine – The Connecticut College volleyball team fell to Bates by a 3-0 decision on Friday night at Alumni Gym. Set scores were 25-10, 25-14, and 25-21.

Bates (10-4, NESCAC 2-2) scored the first five points of the opening set and led from wire-to-wire by also hitting at a .550 clip as a team with 11 kills and no errors on 20 swings. Angel Echipue smashed three of her four kills during the set during the early hot stretch, and a Camel attacking error extended the margin to twin figures and forced a visitors timeout with the Bobcats leading by a 14-4 score. Bates eventually won the set by 15 after ending it on a 5-0 run.

The Camels came out stronger in the second set and took a 2-0 lead, as senior captain Grace McGee (Portland, Ore.) aced her serve and Echipue committed just the first attacking error by the hosts on the second rally. Connecticut College took a 4-3 lead by getting back-to-back kills from freshman Katie Gunderman (Oakland, Calif.), but the Bobcats responded with a 7-2 run to pull ahead and prompt a timeout. Even though the Camels were able to slice into the lead courtesy of McGee setting up junior Katie Howley (Scituate, Mass.) and getting a kill herself, Bates was able to stay ahead for the remainder of the frame. Brettney Fuller provided an ace to make it 18-11, and the Bobcats closed out another double-digit set win on a Camel service error.

Looking to stay alive, Connecticut College got two straight kills from freshman Annie Wibbelsmann (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) to take its largest lead of the evening at 7-4 in the third frame. However, the hosts rallied and went ahead, 11-10, by getting two consecutive service aces from Gabi Eustache. A heated battle ensued with the teams getting deadlocked in eight more ties, but it was the Bobcats who emerged victorious. Taylor Stafford-Smith recorded a kill from the left corner on match point to complete the sweep.

Echipue led Bates with 11 kills and a .529 hitting percentage, while Stafford-Smith just missed a double-double with nine kills and 11 digs. Eustache finished with a team-leading 14 digs and five assists to go along with three service aces, and Emma Eide added five aces.

The Camels were once again paced by Howley and McGee. Howley notched nine kills and 10 digs, and McGee dished out a game-high 20 assists. Wibbelsman registered two aces and two kills without committing an attacking error on six attempts.

Connecticut College (6-7, NESCAC 0-4) will next trek to Colby for a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday afternoon.