The rollercoaster ride that was the Colgate volleyball season has come to an end, with the team taking many positives from the conclusion of the year. After a disastrous start, the Raiders rebounded to perform admirably in Patriot League play. The team’s final test of the season, a clash against rival Bucknell, was an opportunity to end the season on a high note.
The Bison galloped into Hamilton with an 8-5 league record, having already secured the fourth spot in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. The Raiders, on the other hand, had been eliminated from contention for Patriot League Tournament play despite an amazing turnaround in the season’s second half, and knew that this would be the final game of the season.
Following a 30-21 loss in the first game, Colgate responded with two 30-27 victories to take command of the match. The Bison, in a do-or-die situation, responded to the pressure with a convincing 30-17 victory in the fourth game to set up a decisive fifth game.
In a back-and-forth final game, Colgate took a 14-12 lead and eventually needed just one point to take home a thrilling victory. Unfortunately, that final point proved too elusive for Colgate: and the Bison finished the game with a 4-0 rally to win the game and the match.
Senior co-captains Allie Nichols and Meghaan Walsh closed out their collegiate careers with strong performances. Nichols recorded a double-double with 46 assists and 11 digs, while Walsh had a season-high 10 digs.
“That loss was really hard to swallow for all of us,” Nichols said. “I think we’re all still a little devastated. It definitely wasn’t how I wanted to end my career on, but we fought hard for the entire match.”
The Raiders also received solid contributions from sophomore Erin Kanetzke, who had five blocks and matched her career-high with 12 kills, classmate Sheila Giovannini, who posted 10 kills, and first-year Jackie Adlam, whose match-best 31 kills marked her fifth 30 kills or better performance this season.
“I think that match is something that we’ll all learn from, especially the younger girls who still have at least another season,” Nichols said. “That type of mental toughness is something that comes with experience and learning from situations like the one we were in against Bucknell.”
Despite the disappointing conclusion to the season, head coach Jenna Panatier was proud of her team’s performance.
“I am so proud of all our volleyball athletes,” Panatier said. “Over the course of this year they have bonded together into the tightest-knit group of my tenure here at Colgate.Working toward a common goal and doing whatever was necessary, this squad took advantage of each other’s talents and strengths to finish the season, not as a group of individuals, but as a single unit striving for success.”
The Raiders ended their season with a 6-8 Patriot League record and 7-20 overall, and will look to improve on that record next year.