Williamstown, MA –Williams College (11-5, 4-2 NESCAC) took on Bates College (11-6, 3-4 NESCAC) and came out victorious even after five sets. The fifth set proved to be the deciding factor in the well-played matchup between the Ephs and the Bobcats.
Senior setter Alexandra Newton commented, "Our team gets really excited when a lot of fans come out and support. Maud came out to support us today and was definitely the highlight! It was really fun to play all together today. We had some ups and downs, but when we had energy, things really came together, especially with the support from our bench and communication all around."
In the fifth set, Bates and Williams had to battle for every point, showing off their athleticism and high volleyball IQ. The turning point came when Williams sophomore Lydia Kurtz earned a kill through a cross court roll shot to tie the set at 7-7. This smart play was the catalyst for the Ephs as they surged to a 10-7 lead behind another kill from Lydia Kurtz, a service ace from Alexandra Newton, and a dynamic kill from freshman Anna Tosolini. Bates threatened with a kill from junior Ruby Lightbourn, but the Ephs were not fazed and cruised to the 15-9 victory and hereby claimed the match.
The first set was opened up when Williams senior Natalie Albright had a key block to give the Ephs the lead 8-6. From here, Williams went on a five-point run led by Natalie Albright's powerful serves. Williams had the momentum, and Bates was never able to collect themselves as the Ephs only allowed five more points from the Bobcats. Bates was highlighted by three kills from Ruby Lightbourn, and Williams was victorious 25-11.
The second set was played much more closely as Bates regrouped. Bates built an early 10-5 lead led by two kills from junior Angel Echipue. Williams gathered behind a kill from Lydia Kurtz and strong serving from senior Daiana Takashima to tie the set at 13-13. This set saw ten more ties, and it appeared to be anyone's match. Errors at the end of the set cost the Ephs as an error tied the set at 26-26. Another error and a kill from junior Delaney Mayfield gave Bates the victory 28-26.
In the third set, Bates was played much more confidently and loosely, knowing they had rattled Williams. The turning point came when Williams was up 11-7. Bates capitalized on a kill from Delaney Mayfield to return the ball, and from here, the Bobcats went on a seven-point run, highlighted by a kill each from Angel Echipue, freshman Emma Eide, and senior Taylor Stafford-Smith. From here, it appeared that Bates was going to cruise to the set victory, but Williams gathered and rallied to pull themselves back into the set. Defensive play was highlighted by Williams junior Allison Frison as she hustled all over the court, saving deflections off of blocks and managing to dig up powerful swings. Williams tied the set at 22-22 but suffered from a service error. Bates junior Olivia McCulloch stepped up the service line and earned the 23-22 lead from a service ace, completely reversing the energy from the Ephs to the Bobcats, and ultimately, Bates was victorious 25-23.
Heading into the fourth set, Williams had their backs against the wall. The Ephs had to win this set in order to keep playing, and they did just that. Williams jumped out to an early 11-5 lead instigated by two powerful blocks by sophomore Olivia Hindy, one of which was a double block with Alexandra Newton. At this point, Williams had regained confidence and did not let Bates get any closer than four points. Bates's Delaney Mayfield has four kills in this set, but Williams cruised to the 25-16 victory, establishing the energy they needed to head into the fifth and final set.
For this match, Bates leaders were: Delaney Mayfield with fourteen kills, senior Julia Panepinto with twenty assists, and sophomore Megan Seabury with sixteen digs. Williams leaders were: senior Erin Denham with twenty-two kills, Alexandra Newton with thirty-eight assists, and Lydia Kurtz with twenty-nine digs.
The Ephs are back in action on Friday, October 18th when they travel to face Babson College at 7:00 PM.