|Bates College||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine — Junior Jess Williamson (Goffstown, N.H.) had a career-high 31 kills and 15 digs, but it was not enough as the University of Southern Maine Huskies dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision (18-25, 25-18, 28-30, 25-22, 15-12) to the visiting Bates College Bobcats in non-conference women’s volleyball action Wednesday evening at the Warren Hill Gymnasium.
The loss was the second straight for the Huskies who fell to 5-3 overall. The Bobcats improved to 2-3 overall, and continued their domination of the all-time series.
Williamson’s 31 kills was one shy of the five-set school record held by Shannon Stoll. The 5-foot-7 outside hitter was very strong in the third set swinging for 13 of the Huskies’ 18 kills. The team’s 65 kills equaled the five-set record set against Keene State College in 2003.
The Huskies rocketed out of the box to take the first set with some of their best volleyball of the young season. The Bobcats turned the tables with a fast start to take the second set. The third set finally went to the Huskies in overtime, putting them on the verge of their first win over the Bobcats since 1985. But Bates rallied behind rookie Taylor Stafford-Smith’s (Calabasas, Calif.) nine kills in the fourth set to hold off USM and set the stage for the decisive fifth set.
Tied 12-12, Bates took the final three points to clinch the match. The final point came on one of the Bobcats’ 16 blocking points.
Stafford-Smith finished the match with a double-double knocking down 15 kills and being credited with 10 blocking assists. Senior Chandler McGrath (Seal Beach, Calif.) added 14 kills and nine digs, and sophomore Lauren Brough (Killingworth, Conn.) chipped in eight kills. Sophomore Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) had a huge night at the net with one solo block and 13 block assists.
Junior Jacqueline Forney (Bloomington, Ind.) and senior Hannah Tardie (Orange, Calif.) combined for 49 assists. Forney passed out 29 helpers and dig up nine balls while Tardie had 20 assists. Rookie libero Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) posted a team-high 14 digs.
Complementing Williamson was junior Mo Raymond (Sanbornton, N.H.) who had a double-double with 15 kills and 20 digs. Senior setter Megan Nilson (Granby, Conn.) dished out 40 assists and had 15 digs. Sophomore Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) had 20 assists, 10 digs and seven kills. Rookie libero Jenna Graves (Corinth, Texas) had 20 digs.