Volleyball Looks Great In Debut

Chaz Kurtz

Following a disappointing year in which the Raiders won just one of their first 15 matches, the Colgate volleyball team is off to a markedly different start this season. With a pair of convincing 3-1 victories over Rider and LaSalle, the Raiders look poised to forget the 2005 campaign and start anew in 2006.

“From losing so much last year, we gained a lot of mental toughtness for the future” said junior middle blocker Erin Kanetzke.

The confidence they gained from a solid finish last season coupled with the influx of talented first-years creates the potential for a remarkable turnaround season for the Raiders. Not to be overlooked is the presence of first-year coach Ryan Baker. Promoted from Assistant Coach this July, the Ithaca College graduate is already well acquainted with women’s volleyball at Colgate.

“He’s really good at the mental side of volleyball” said junior Kanetzke. “He knows what to say and when to say it and we respond well to that.”

Colgate began the season before most students had even arrived on campus, hosting Rider in the opening match of the Colgate Classic on Cotterell Court. Fueled by standout sophomore Katrina Zawojski and fantastic first-year Kelsea Loveless, the Raiders dominated nearly every aspect of the match. Zawojski led the way with 18 kills, 13 digs, and a career-high hitting percentage of .459, while Loveless began her collegiate career on the right foot, collecting a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. As she did seemingly every game a season ago, sophomore Jackie Adlam paced the defense with 27 digs. Also contributing was junior co-captain Erin Kanetzke, who had a career-best 13 kills, while first-year Meghan Fanta added 46 assists in her first collegiate action.

After the impressive season-opening victory, Colgate faced the Retrievers of UMBC. Katrina Zawojski led the way once again, this time with 13 kills and eight digs, but it was not enough as the Raiders were swept 3-0.

That loss, however, had no ill-effect on the Raiders in their third match, as they outplayed LaSalle en route to their second victory of the year. Erin Kanetzke played very well, pacing Colgate with a .452 hitting percentage and a career-high 20 kills, while Zawojski and Loveless collected their second double-doubles in three games.

After falling behind early in the first game, the Raiders rebounded nicely at the end to capture a 30-27 victory. The second game was equally exciting, but had a different outcome, as the Explorers capitalized on Colgate mistakes and overcame a 29-28 deficit to win the game and tie the match at one. In the third game, it looked as if LaSalle would take control of the match after amassing a 29-27 lead, but first-years came to the rescue for the Raiders, as Ilona Matulaitis had a timely kill and Loveless provided back-to-back aces to take the game 31-29. Seemingly deflated following this loss, the Explorers lacked the tenacity they had shown throughout the match and fell 30-20 in a one-sided final game.

After their opening week of play, the Raiders have a lot to be happy about. A season ago, victory number two did not come until September 30. Two of the Patriot League’s biggest honors went to very deserving Raiders. Erin Kanetzke was named Baden Player of the Week, while Kelsea Loveless was named Baden Rookie of the Week. Overall, things are looking up for the Colgate volleyball team.

The Raiders are away at the Marist Tournament in Poughkeepsie, NY this weekend. Their next home match is September 8, when they host Princeton at