Volleyball Wins Patriot League Regular Season Title


Colgate Athletics/Mary Grygier

MAYHEM ON COTTERELL: The Patriot League Volleyball Tournament runs through Cotterell Court, as the top-seeded Raiders look forward to battling for an NCAA Tournament berth. Their journey begins Saturday, Nov. 20 against Navy at home.

The Colgate Volleyball team beat Navy 3-1 on Nov. 6 to secure the Patriot League Regular Season Championship for the first time since 2012. Over the last four years, the team has gone to four straight Patriot League tournaments, earned two regular-season titles — one shared with American University in 2019 — appeared in a championship and competed in a National Invitational Volleyball Championship bid. For the last three seasons, the team’s Patriot League record stands at a very impressive 34-4.

“I am extremely pleased with how this team has played all season,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “They had some early season losses, but I feel that is why we are where we are today. We were exposed early and the team responded.”

The squad had a difficult nonconference slate that included home matchups with Kansas State and UNLV, as well as a road trip to the highly ranked Nebraska. They also competed in the Albany Tournament and the Ellis Rowland Memorial Tournament, where they faced top-level talent.

“[The early season losses] allowed the team and coaches to see our strengths while also giving us an early look at our weaknesses,” Baker said.

Senior Julia Kurowski, captain and setter and outside hitter, echoed Baker’s thoughts.

“I think that having such a tough preseason really brought our team closer together,” she said. “We have all the pieces to the puzzle and our team is so deep — there is so much trust on the court no matter who is out there.”

Kurowski attributed the success of the team not only to the work that the team does when no one is looking, but also to the work that the coaches have done in scouting other teams.

“We go into every match very prepared,” Kurowski said. “The coaches give us everything they have and when we can execute the scout and stay disciplined we are unstoppable.”

Coach Baker also emphasized the value of his senior class.

“I always say your season depends on your seniors. Our senior class has been selfless, great teammates and competitive,” Baker said. “The team has emulated their behaviors and that’s why we were named regular-season champions.”

Early in their season, the team set their sights on winning the regular-season championship and hosting the Patriot League tournament, according to Kurowski.

“Now that we have checked that box, we have our eyes set on hanging banners, getting a ring and playing in the NCAA tournament,” Kurowski said.

Colgate will play their first match Friday at Cotterell Court against [the lowest seed that wins tonight: (6)Navy, (5) Loyola MD, or (4) American] at 4:00 PM.

When thinking about the challenges of the upcoming games, senior outside hitter Ellen Hamlin said, “I think the biggest challenges during playoffs are pressure and overextending ourselves. We have lost to Army the last two years, and it is time to beat them.”

Baker continued, “I think our biggest challenge will be keeping our composure when matches get tight. We need to stay aggressive and keep attacking no matter what is happening on the other side of the court.”

The Raiders will need a heavy dose of both chemistry and composure in order to finally get over the hump and win the Patriot League Tournament. This year the team has the added benefit of playing in front of Colgate fans for the competition. Stop by to cheer on and support the women during the semifinal and championship matches, Saturday Nov.20 and Sunday, Nov. 21 respectively, on Cotterell Court.

“Our team has the best chemistry on and off the court,” Hamlin said. “We all want to win more than anything. Every day we practice hard, we push each other and we take care of each other off the court. We are all genuinely best friends and want a ring so bad.”