Volleyball Drops Three at Long Island Invitational

Much like the new sorority girls suffering initiation traditions, the Colgate volleyball team experienced a revealing weekend at the Long Island Invitational, losing first to Long Island University 2-3, followed by Georgia and Siena 0-3 and 2-3, respectively.

“This non-conference schedule was created in order to expose our weaknesses,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “The only way we get better is by facing tough competition in a tough environment. I want the players to have to fight for everything. While our record may not indicate success, I am positive we will be in the mix when league play begins. We are getting better each week.”

The squad threw all they had at Long Island University, but it did not quite do the trick on the scoreboard. The Raiders took the Blackbirds into five games, including a lengthy battle in the third game. Unfortunately, the Raiders lost momentum in the fifth set that ultimately cost them the match. Scores from the match were 23-25, 25-22, 30-32, 25-21, 8-15.

Statistically, the Raiders showed great signs. Four members of the Colgate squad tallied double digits in kills. First-year middle blocker Kaleigh Durket hit the team high for the fifth consecutive match with an impressive 19 kills. Right up there with her was sophomore outside hitter Maureen Colligan with 14, and juniors Logan Keala and Casey Ritt putting down 12 kills each. Leading assists was senior captain and setter Meghan Fanta with 40. Junior libero Devon Applegate dominated the back court, achieving her career-high in defensive digs with 25.

In the match against Georgia, the Raiders suffered a quicker defeat, losing in three games with scores of 15-25, 23-25 and 20-25. Keala led the team in kills this match with eight, followed closely by Colligan with seven.

“Mo Colligan had a breakout weekend,” Coach Baker said. “She terminated the ball very effectively. It was great to see her assert herself.”

Fanta and sophomore setter Blair Safir shared the lead in assists with 12 each. The Colgate defense also contributed a great effort in match number two of the weekend, with Applegate and Keala both posting nine defensive digs, Durket throwing in eight, and senior outside hitter Kelsea Loveless contributing five.

The Raiders kicked up the intensity again for the final match of the tournament last Saturday evening against Siena in another five-game contest. Again, the Colgate team marked milestones statistically, with Colligan posting career highs in kills and digs, with 16 and 12, respectively, and tying her career high in blocks with six. Durket was back near the top of the hitting statistics again this match, sending 15 hits straight to the Saints’ floor. Colgate out-aced Siena 10-6. Five of Colgate’s aces belonged to Durket, two apiece to Ritt and Applegate and one to Fanta. Applegate led the defensive end again with 21 digs on the day, and was helped out by teammates Fanta, Keala, Colligan and Durket, who all posted double digits in defensive digs.

Unfortunately, however, the Raiders’ hard work didn’t result in a win against the Saints.

“This weekend was physically, mentally and emotionally draining on the team,” Coach Baker said. “We played 13 sets in less than 24 hours with a point differential of 5 or less in nine out of those 13 sets. As a coach, you can’t ask for much more. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come away with the wins, which is tough to stomach, but we truly played our hearts out against three teams who are consistently in the NCAA [tournament].”

The Raiders are now 1-6 on the season. This weekend Colgate travels to the Cornell Invitation, in preparation for Patriot League action, which begins on September 25 against Holy Cross.