For the second weekend in a row, Colgate’s volleyball team split a pair of Patriot League games on the road, falling to Lafayette on Friday night but rebounding to beat Lehigh a day later.
The Raiders dominated the first game against Lafayette, winning 30-25. Sophomore Katrina Zawojski had six kills and first-year setter Meghan Fanta had 18 assists to lead the way.
The Leopards turned the match upside-down in the second game, though, when Lafayette’s Veronica Canto-Ponce recorded five kills as the Leopards won 30-19. They then won a closely fought third game, 30-27, in which the two teams traded the lead six times. Lafayette then finished off the match with a fairly easy 30-7 win in the fourth game.
“They switched to defensive rotation on both sides,” said Head Coach Ryan Baker, “This took away some of our offensive options, and we couldn’t make the necessary adjustments. However, the match was a good learning experience for later in the season when we host Lafayette.”
Fanta had a match-high 45 assists, marking the eighth time this season she has recorded at least 40 in a match. Zawojski led the Raiders in kills with 15, while senior Marybeth Maziarz had nine, and junior Erin Kanetzke had eight. For the Leopards, Canto-Ponce led all players in kills with 16, and added 12 digs for a double-double.
The Raiders made the short trip to Lehigh on Saturday, and again had a strong opening game, which Colgate won 30-19. After that, the Raiders and Mountain Hawks battled through three games, all of which came right down to the wire. Victory slipped through the Mountain Hawks’ talons, and Colgate ultimately prevailed, 31-29, 27-30, and 30-28 for the four-game win.
Fanta recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 57 assists and 10 digs, and classmates Kelsea Loveless and Ilona Matulaitis led the Raiders with career-best offensive matches. Loveless had 20 kills, while Matulaitis had 18. Zawojski contributed 14 kills, and sophomore Jackie Adlam had 25 digs to lead the team. Lehigh’s Michelle Schwendenmann led all players in kills with 25.
After Saturday’s bounce back win Baker praised the team, especially Colgate’s first-years. “We really worked on opening up our outside hitters for this match,” he said. “Meghan really saw Lehigh’s blockers well and set away from them to give us 1-on-1 opportunities to attack and win points. Kelsea and Ilona then executed the plan well, and both had career-best matches as a result.”
Through last weekend’s matches, the Raiders had a record of 9-7, 2-2 in the Patriot League. After a midweek match at local rivals Syracuse, Colgate returns home for the first time in nearly a month with a Patriot League match against Bucknell on Friday night. This match presents an early keystone in the Colgate schedule.
“Bucknell will tell us a lot about where we stand because we’re both right in the mix of things, and 2-2 in league play,” Baker said. “We’re refreshed and excited about coming home, because with the help of parents and other student-athletes, our fan support has improved from recent seasons. We can really feed off the crowd now, and we expect to win home matches.”