WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University volleyball team battled back a couple of times against Bates College, but the Judges were unable to come all the way back from some big deficits tonight in a 3-1 loss to the Bobcats. Set scores were 25-17, 24-26, 27-25, 25-19. Brandeis falls to 1-6 on the season, while Bates improves to 5-0.
The visitors got off to a quick start in the first set, jumping out to a 7-1 lead and never trailing as they took it, 25-17. It was the Judges who opened strong in the second, taking a 9-1 advantage. The Bobcats battled back and eventually took a 22-21 lead on an Emma Eide service ace, but Brandeis won the next two thanks to a kill by senior Emma Bartlett (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) and a block by rookie Amelia Oppenheimer (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) and junior Marissa Borgert (Blaine, Minn./Spring Lake Park). The Bobcats got the first set point after a block of their own and a Samantha Schecter kill, but Brandeis answered with an Oppenheimer kill and two Bates errors to take the second set, 26-24.
The Judges nearly pulled off an epic comeback of their own in the third set. Bates owned leads of 7-0 thanks to a terrific service string by Ruby Lightbourn that included four aces. After she finally made an error, the Bobcats scored three more to take a 10-1 lead. Brandeis clawed closer on the serve of junior Belle Scott (Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal School), cutting a 16-7 deficit to 16-13. The Bobcats kept the hosts at bay until an error by Angel Echipue tied things up at 20-all. Bates won the next two points, and the Judges were able to survive two set points at 24-22 and another at 25-24 before a pair of late attacking errors gave the visitors a 27-25 win and 2-1 lead.
In the fourth set, Bates scored the first three points, with Brandeis netting the next three. The Bobcats answered with three more in a row, including a kill and an ace by Lightbourn to take a 6-3 lead, and they held off the Judges the rest of the way. The Judges were within 21-19, but Bates closed out the match with the final four points to claim the victory.
For the Bobcats, Bartlett led the way with a match-high 12 kills. She made just three errors in 35 attacks for a .257 hitting percentage. She also added 11 digs for her third double-double of the season and added a season-high seven blocks (four solo), tied for the second-most in her career. Oppenheimer also had a career-high with 10 kills. Borgert led the Judges with 22 assists and 17 digs.
Bates had a balanced attack, with six players posting between six and nine kills, paced by nine each from Delaney Mayfield and Sydney Phillips. Mayfield hit for a match-high .278 percentage, making just three errors in 30 attempts, while Phillips topped the Bobcats with five assists (none solo). Gabi Eustache led all players with 22 digs, while Julia Panepinto had a match-high 25 assists. Lightbourn had a fine all-around match with seven kills, six service aces and 14 digs.
Brandeis is back in action tomorrow afternoon for a tri-match at Amherst College, meeting Westfield State at 1 p.m. and host Amherst at 3 p.m. Bates takes on St. Joseph's College and Rivier at the same times in Nashua, N.H.