Volleyball Wraps Up Historic Season

After a regular season in which Colgate volleyball went 13-3 in conference play, the Raiders won the Patriot League regular-season title and clinched the top seed and a first-round bye in the Patriot League tournament. After receiving a bye to the semifinals, the Raiders quickly decimated Navy in a four-set victory. In the championship game, Colgate faced a stiff challenge in American, a program that has 16 Patriot League titles in the last 20 years. But the Eagles were evidently not enough of a challenge to derail Colgate’s magical season. The Raiders clinched their first Patriot League Championship since 2012 in a dominant 3-1 win that also sent them into the NCAA Tournament. The championship was Colgate’s sixth all-time Patriot League title for volleyball and the third under Head Coach Ryan Baker.

After the NCAA Selection Show on Nov. 28 revealed the tournament field for every qualifier in the country, Colgate’s trip to the “big dance” became real. They were drawn against the number four seed Wisconsin Badgers in the first round. That meant a trip to the Midwest to play the Big Ten Champion, and perennial volleyball superpower, Wisconsin Badgers. The program at Wisconsin has won four Big Ten titles in the last eight years and has made two consecutive Final Four appearances. 

The Raiders magic ran out on Friday, Dec. 3 when they fell in straight sets to the talented Badgers at Wisconsin Field House in front of a packed house. Attendance at the match was over 7,000 strong. Despite the tough loss in the NCAA Tournament, the Raiders season was their most successful in many years. There were also excellent performances in the match against Wisconsin, including fifth year senior Alli Lowe’s 12 kills, senior Julia Kurowski’s 23 assists, and junior Taylor Cigna’s 11 digs. There were a lot of positives to take away from the match for a program that is on the way up. Senior Ellen Hamlin echoed that message in her recap of the season: 

“The last time we won the Patriot League and played in the NCAA [Tournament] was in 2012, and winning this year has made so many alumni proud because our program is developing into a winning program, and it’s credited towards everyone who has been apart of Colgate volleyball.”

On their trip to Wisconsin to play in the NCAA Tournament, Hamlin continued:

“I am incredibly grateful to be apart of a team that got the ability to play in the NCAA tournament and travel to Wisconsin. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. My coaches and teammates have worked so hard and sacrificed a lot for this season.”

For a squad that came into the year facing an injury to Lowe, their star outside outside hitter, and also a mountain of expectations to win the Patriot League (ranked preseason #1), the Colgate volleyball team came out champions. They exceeded expectations and dominated the Patriot League both in the regular season and conference tournament en route to their first NCAA Tournament in nearly 10 years. Going forward, Colgate volleyball will look to take the program to the next level and set their sights on getting an NCAA Tournament win.