Volleyball secures NESCAC playoff spot despite loss to Amherst

Ruby Lightbourn led Bates with eight kills in a 3-0 loss at Amherst on Oct. 27, 2017. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

AMHERST, Mass. -- The Bates volleyball team fell 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-22) at Amherst College Friday night, but the night had a definite silver lining, as Connecticut College's loss to Tufts guaranteed the Bobcats the eighth seed in the NESCAC tournament next week.

The Bobcats dipped to 11-13 overall and 3-6 in NESCAC play, and they'll finish the regular season on Saturday at 2pm at Trinity (7-13, 1-8). The Mammoths (15-9, 4-5) also clinched a spot in the tournament, moving into a tie for sixth place with Williams.

Bates will make its third straight postseason appearance next Friday at 5pm in the NESCAC quarterfinals against the tournament's top seed: that will be the winner between Saturday's Tufts and Wesleyan showdown.

First-year outside hitter Ruby Lightbourn (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the Bobcats with eight kills on a team-high 33 attempts (.152). First-year Angel Echipue (Munich, Germany) added six kills with six errors on 29 attempts (.000) and four blocks. Sophomore Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) contributed five kills on 23 attempts (.130).

Senior setter Jacqueline Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) tallied 26 assists, while sophomores Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) and Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) led the Bobcats in digs with 17 and 12, respectively.

Amherst's Daria Kim-Percy had match highs in attack attempts (55), kills (16) and attack errors (13), to go with 13 digs, while Emily Kolsky added 12 kills for the Mammoths. Marialexa Natsis posted eight kills for the hosts. Charlotte Duran assisted on 38 kills and added 12 digs, while Hayes Honea posted a match-high 20 digs.

Bates was limited to a .067 attack percentage for the match, the Bobcats' fourth-lowest rate of the season, and didn't record any service aces for the first time this year.