After struggling against some of the nation’s best volleyball teams over the previous two weeks, Colgate turned the tables on its opponents at the 2007 Colgate Invitational. The Raiders swept all three of its matches against Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner, and Central Arkansas at Cotterell Court, dropping just one game in the process.
Senior Erin Kanetzke mentioned that Colgate’s serving-and-service returns were crucial all weekend, and this was quite evident right from the start. The Raiders took a quick 10-3 lead in the first game against FDU thanks to great serving from first-year Rachelle Roberts and junior Katrina Zawojski. FDU began the second game on serve and jumped out to an early five-point advantage, but Colgate fought back and eventually took the lead, 14-13. Both teams fought to a virtual standstill after this, but a kill from junior Merryl Pohl at 29-28 finally gave Colgate a 2-0 lead. The Raiders dominated the early stages of game three, but FDU made a late run to pull within one point. However, Head Coach Ryan Baker called a timeout, and Zawojski promptly recorded the match-ending kill.
Zawojski finished with 22 kills, 10 digs, and five block assists. First-year Casey Ritt also stood out with 10 kills and four blocks, while sophomore Kelsea Loveless had 10 kills. Kanetzke and junior libero Jackie Adlam made significant contributions to Colgate’s defensive efforts with six total blocks and 12 digs, respectively.
Colgate and Wagner traded wins in the first two games, 30-21 and 27-30, respectively. The Raiders jumped out to an early lead in game one, but Wagner roared back to close within a couple points. Fortunately, Colgate pulled out on the win. Remarkably, the same point pattern occurred in the next game, with Wagner almost relinquishing a big lead. Colgate dominated games three and four, 30-19 and 30-15. The Raiders led almost from start to finish in games three and four, with only two ties and one lead change.
Loveless’ 16 kills led all scorers. Zawojski again recorded a double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs. Ritt added eight kills, some of them looking like winners on contact, and sophomore setter Meghan Fanta had 47 assists.
“Casey’s a power-hitter and it showed this weekend,” Kanetzke said. “She connected with [Fanta] really well.”
The Raiders swept Central Arkansas, but had to earn each victory. UCA led early in the first game, but Colgate took over the lead at 13-12. The Raiders built their lead to as many as eight points and won, 30-24. Colgate used solid serving and two-way play to build a 20-12 lead in game two. The Sugar Bears went on a 9-4 run to trail 24-21, but the Raiders showed their poise in winning six of the next 10 points to claim a 2-0 lead in games. The final game was even closer. UCA held Colgate in check after the Raiders went on a 13-8 opening run and eventually took over the lead at 24-23. Both teams traded several points, but the Raiders would not fold and ultimately secured the match with a 30-28 win.
Zawojski had a match-best 18 kills, while Pohl added 16 and Loveless had 12 of her own. Fanta assisted on a remarkable 45 points and joined Zawojski on the All-Tournament Team. Adlam’s 14 digs gave her a career total of 1,287, moving her onto the Patriot League’s Top-10 career list and within 29 of tying Colgate’s career record.
Colgate is now 5-7 overall. The Raiders begin league play tomorrow night by hosting Lafayette. Lehigh visits on Saturday afternoon.
“We want to start off right with two wins,” said Kanetzke. “Hopefully good crowd support, including the volleyball alums visiting this weekend, will help us do it.”