Middlebury earned a 3-1 (25-13, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19) win over Bates (11-17, 2-8) in the regular season finale for both teams. The Panthers (18-6, 5-5) have earned the sixth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will face third-seeded Amherst on Friday night at Williams.
Leading 6-4 in the first set, Middlebury ran off six of the next seven points to take a 12-5 lead. Bates scored the next five to make it 12-10, before the Panthers slowly pulled away, taking the first set 25-13.
Bates led for much of the second set, including a 16-12 advantage. The Panthers trailed 18-16 when a pair of kills from Amy Hart later gave them their first lead of the set at 20-19. Leading 22-21, the Panthers ran off three straight to earn the win.
The third set was tied at 20-20 with the Bobcats needing a win to extend the match. Later tied at 23 apiece, Bates earned the last two points to make it a 2-1 contest.
Leading 14-11 in the fourth set, Middlebury ran off five straight points to take a 19-11 lead. The Bobcats made a late run, but the Panthers held them off for the 25-19 victory.
Hart and Megan Jarchow both capped their senior careers in Pepin Gym with 18-kill efforts. Hart added 13 digs, with 12 from Jarchow and 11 from Hannah Blackburn, who also earned 43 assists. Olivia Kolodka finished with a match-high 18 digs, while Melanie English earned three solo blocks.
Chandler McGrath led Bates with eight kills, while Abby Leberman added seven. Laryssa Schepel finished with 14 digs, while Tess Walther had 10 with 13 assists.