LEWISTON, Maine -- First-year middle hitter Angel Echipue's dominating performance propelled the Bates volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-4, 25-20, 25-7) non-conference victory over St. Joseph's College of Maine Tuesday night, in the Bobcats' final home match of the season.
Echipue (Munich, Germany) totaled 16 kills on 22 attempts with two attack errors, for an attack percentage of .636, and added in two blocks and two digs, as Bates (11-12) snapped a four-match losing streak behind a season-best team attack percentage of .327.
Bates senior setter and captain Jacqueline Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) paced the Bobcats with 35 assists in her final home match. Forney served up seven of Bates' 13 aces in the match and added 11 digs.
Sophomore Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) and first-year Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) added six kills apiece. Sophomores Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) and Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) tallied 13 and 12 digs, respectively.
The Bobcats rolled over the Monks in the first set, holding the visitors without a kill while putting down 13 kills themselves. A kill by Stafford-Smith gave Bates a 10-4 lead, beginning a run of 16 straight points as Forney served the rest of the way, including three aces in the run. Stafford-Smith had three kills in the run while junior Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) and Mayfield had two apiece.
St. Joe's bounced back in the second set, recording 10 kills in the frame against three attack errors (.167). The Monks established an early 6-1 lead, helped by kills from Lillan Garrity and Bickford. Bates came back to tie the set at 7-7, but St. Joe's didn't allow the Bobcats the lead until a kill by first-year Olivia McCulloch (Sunderland, Mass.) returned service to Forney, and the captain's three aces in a gave Bates a 21-19 advantage. A kill by Mayfield made it 23-20 in Bates' favor, and two straight errors by the Monks ended the evening's closest set with Bates as the 25-20 winner. Erin Olson and Bickford had three kills apiece in the set for St. Joe's, while Jennelle Thompson popped up 10 digs. But Bates' Echipue countered with five for Bates and Mayfield added four.
The third set zipped by, with no player taking a second turn at serving. After St. Joe's sophomore Bailey Gryskwicz's ace closed Bates' lead to 4-3, Bates rattled off six straight points, with two kills apiece by Echipue and first-year Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.). A kill by Copp made it 10-4, but it was the only point for the Monks in a 13-1 Bates run which made it 17-4. The Monks scored their final point on a Stafford-Smith attack error that made it 20-7, but Stafford-Smith notched a pair of aces in serving the final four points of the night. Echipue posted seven kills with no errors on eight attempts in the set, leading Bates to a .452 attack percentage in the frame.
Bates finishes the regular season with a pair of NESCAC matches this weekend, at Amherst Friday at 8pm and at Trinity Saturday at 2pm. The Bobcats are currently tied with Amherst for seventh place in the conference, with eight teams set to compete in the postseason NESCAC tournament.
St. Joe's will host the University of New England Thursday at 6pm.
COURTESY OF BATES COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.