Volleyball edged by Bates in five sets
Hamilton College's Jessica Weston '17 tied a career high with 15 kills but the Continentals lost in five sets against the Bates College Bobcats in a NESCAC match at Bates' Alumni Gym on Friday night.
Hamilton (3-14, 1-6 NESCAC) won the first set but the Bobcats rallied for the 23-25, 25-14, 29-27, 21-25, 15-11 victory. Bates posted a team hitting percentage of .444 in the fifth set and finished the match with 20 service aces.
Weston is sixth in the conference with a .303 hitting percentage. Margaret O'Brien '18 hammered a season-high 10 kills and tied a season best with eight blocks. O'Brien is eighth in the NESCAC with .76 blocks per set.
Meghan Wilkinson '19 and Kyndal Burdin '18 were credited with 19 assists apiece, and Wilkinson added 12 digs for the Continentals. Jamie Granskie '16 led Hamilton with 22 digs, Sophie Zacharakis '19 chipped in a season-best 14, Erin Donahue '18 had 12 and Tayzia Santiago '19 came up with a season-high 11.
Chandler McGrath and Nicole Peraica posted 18 kills apiece for the Bobcats (7-10, 3-5). Claire Naughton finished with 13 kills, Jacqueline Forney passed out 32 assists and served seven of Bates' 20 aces. Hannah Tardie contributed six aces and Augy Silver paced the defense with a match-high 32 digs.
In the pivotal fifth set, the Bobcats broke a 4-4 tie with four straight points and the Continentals didn't get closer than three points down the stretch. A McGrath kill, a bad set by Hamilton and two aces by Tardie gave Bates an 8-4 advantage. McGrath ended the match with her 18th kill.
In the first set, neither team led by more than four points and there were five lead changes. The Bobcats held a 22-21 edge but kills by Weston and Donahue sandwiched around a Bates attack error put the Continentals on the brink of grabbing the early advantage. After a kill by Naughton pulled the Bobcats within 24-23, O'Brien closed out the set with her own kill.
An early 8-0 run gave Bates an 11-3 lead early in the second set. Hamilton clawed back to within 12-9 but the Bobcats scored the next five points and cruised from there to the 11-point win. Bates had 15 kills and just three errors in 28 total attempts in the second set.
The Continentals jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the third set and led by as many as five points early. The Bobcats climbed back into contention and took their first lead at 17-16 on the third of three straight aces by Silver. Bates still led 23-20 when Hamilton stormed back with four straight points on kills by Claire Kitz '19 and O'Brien and a pair of attack errors by the Bobcats. An attack error by the Continentals on the next point prevented them from closing out the set. Hamilton then fought off three Bates set points before kills by Peraica and McGrath finally gave the Bobcats a dramatic two-point win.
Neither team led by more than three points early in the fourth set but with the score tied at 9-9, the Continentals exploded for an 8-1 spurt that gave them a 17-10 cushion. Two kills by Kitz capped the run. Bates pulled within two points at 22-20 before Hamilton called a timeout and regrouped. The stoppage derailed the Bobcats' momentum as they followed with two attack errors, and O'Brien evened the match at two sets apiece with her eighth kill of the evening.
The Continentals continue their road trip in Maine with another NESCAC match at Colby College on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m.