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Volleyball falls 3-1 to top seed Tufts in NESCAC quarterfinals





MEDFORD, Mass. -- The Bates College volleyball team's season came to a close Friday in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Championship, as the eighth-seeded Bobcats lost 3-1 (25-12, 12-25, 25-16, 25-22) to the top-seeded Tufts University Jumbos.

The Jumbos (28-2) were put to the test by Bates (15-18). After Tufts won the first match easily by a 25-12 score, Bates turned the tables in the second set, scoring a 25-12 win. The next two sets were close. The Jumbos scored five straight points in the middle of the third set for a 20-13 lead that ended in a 25-16 win. Tufts held a slim 22-21 lead late in the fourth set before scoring three of the final four points to win the match with a 25-22 fourth-set final.

Bates finished its season well against a Tufts team that went 10-0 in the conference season. Junior Tess Dokus (Salem, Conn.) and senior Beth Billington (St. Paul, Minn.) were on offensively, combining for 20 kills with just one error. Dokus led with 12. First-year Olivia Schow (Costa Mesa, Calif.) contributed three service aces. The Bobcats served 10 aces overall. On defense, junior Liz Leberman (Concord, N.H.) handled 39 pass attempts with just three errors and added 17 digs in addition to 6 kills. Dokus and Billington were also in on three blocks each. First-year Grace Haessler (Portland, Ore.) notched 26 assists and 5 digs,

The Jumbos, ranked No. 1 in New England, advance to play in the tournament semifinals on Saturday afternoon against Williams, a 3-1 winner over Middlebury on Friday night.

Tufts spread it around offensively against Bates, led by nine kills from sophomore Dawson Joyce-Mendive. Three others had at least seven kills. The Jumbos got two service aces apiece from Cara Spieler and Stacy Filocco, who served a string of nine straight points in the first set. On defense, 16 digs by Natalie Goldstein led the way, while Dena Feiger had nine digs and three block assists to go with 40 assists.

Bates ends the year with a 15-18 mark, the team's best finish since 2004, when the Bobcats went 16-13 and also played in the NESCAC Championship.

STATS: Tufts 3, Bates 1