Bucknell Puts An End to Volleyball’s Run

Following a difficult start to the season, the Colgate women’s volleyball team has had a revival at the beginning of Patriot League play. Led by a solid foundation of young players, the Raiders entered their match last Saturday at Bucknell riding a two-game winning streak, their first such streak of the season. The women were poised to make it three consecutive wins, but the Bison had other ideas.

The Bison entered the match with a 4-2 league record, just ahead of the Raiders in the Patriot League standings. Colgate traveled to Lewisburg full of excitement, optimism and momentum following back-to-back league wins against Lehigh and Lafayette.

“As we go into our match against Bucknell, I know exactly what our athletes will be thinking: Patriot League top four,” head coach Jenna Panatier said before the Bucknell match. Unfortunately for the Raiders, it was not meant to be.

The match began evenly, as the first game climbed to a 15-15 tie. After a 7-2 run, however, Bucknell pulled away for good, winning the first game, 30-25. The Raiders showed their resiliency in the second game, playing tough the entire way. Tied at 29, first-year Katrina Zawojski made a crucial kill, and Colgate took the game, 31-29, following a Bison error to even the match at one. The final two games were tightly contested once again, but Bucknell pulled away at the end of each, prevailing by a score of 30-23 in both games to win the match, 3-1. With the loss, the Raiders dropped back below .500 in league play, while Bucknell stayed in the hunt for the league title with a 5-2 record.

Zawojski was a dominant force for Colgate yet again, totaling a match-high 19 kills in the loss. She added 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Also contributing on the offensive end was classmate Christy Gault, who amassed 10 kills, while senior Allie Nichols had a huge day with 42 assists, 14 digs and eight kills.

First-year Jackie Adlam starred on defense once more, totaling a match-high 28 digs. Adlam is averaging a league-best 5.78 digs per game – the eighth-best average in the nation – and is on pace to break the school record for digs in a season set last season by Natalie Rawson ’05. Sophomore Erin Kanetzke was also impressive for Colgate, as she posted a career-high nine blocks in the defeat.

“We probably played the best defense we’ve ever played against Bucknell,” Nichols said. “It was a really close match the entire way through and each point was a fight. The reason we lost was because of the errors we made at crucial moments, and our offense was not as effective because their defense was also very good.”

The Raiders have two huge league matches this weekend, both at home on Cotterell Court. Tonight Colgate plays host to American and tomorrow the Raiders welcome Navy to Cotterell Court, with both games set to begin at 7 p.m. The Raiders lost to both teams on the road earlier in the season, but they are confident about the upcoming matches.

“If we can speed up our offense and play smart, we will be well-prepared for Navy and American,” Nichols said. “While they are both good teams, we’ve improved immensely since then, so they are definitely going to be unprepared for us.”