The 2009 Colgate volleyball season began last Friday afternoon, as the Raiders hosted Coppin State at Cotterell Court, sweeping the Eagles in three sets.
The Raiders grabbed the first point of the match with a kill from senior hitter Kaylee Dougherty. After falling behind early on, Colgate took the lead and held it all the way to game point, where they commandingly seized game one 25-11 with a kill by first-year Kaleigh Durket. The game featured a powerful Raider tandem in the middle, with junior Casey Ritt setting a fake for the hit by sophomore Maureen Colligan, among many other impressive kills.
“I’m really pleased with the middles; they were very successful throughout the match,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said.
Game two was a serving masterpiece by Colgate, starting with the first play, an ace by senior setter and team captain Meghan Fanta. The Raiders then pulled away with an 8-1 lead that included two beautiful aces by junior outside hitter Logan Keala. Durket followed up with the game’s second set of back-to-back aces. Colgate then easily secured a 15-point lead, followed by two ferocious kills from Keala that got the Raider fans cheering.
“It was really exciting to see fans in the stands for the first match. I hope we continue to improve the atmosphere here at Cotterell Court,” Coach Baker said.
Colgate smoothly took game two by a whopping 19-point margin. Durket’s fierce kill ended the game, 25-6.
The team held its momentum at the outset of game three, beginning it with a great serve reception. The Coppin State Eagles showed new hunger in the middle of the game, tying up the score at seven, even leading 9-8, before a right side hit from first-year Shannon Pearson, assisted by Fanta, returned the lead to Colgate. The Raiders went on to win game three 25-16, sealing the victory.
“This was a good match to start the season with. We did a good job maintaining attitude and effort throughout the match. The most encouraging thing is that the team is extremely deep, which is going to help us throughout the season,” Baker said.
The win for the Raiders included eight digs by junior libero Devon Applegate, 13 assists by Fanta and 16 from sophomore setter Blair Safir. Leading in kills for the match was Durket with 8, followed by Keala and Ritt with seven each.
“The team we have this year has the best chemistry of any team I’ve ever played on,” Ritt said. “We work well together, and we’re here for the championship. Tonight was a good start to what is going to be a great season.”
The season is looking very promising for the Raiders, who were ranked second in the Patriot League preseason poll behind American.
Colgate will now travel to Cambridge, MA to face Harvard, Toledo and Stony Brook in the Harvard Invitational this Friday and Saturday.