Colgate Volleyball Concludes Terrific 2022 Season

Sloan Martin, Sports Editor

With another great season in the books, Colgate Volleyball has now firmly established itself as a volleyball powerhouse. The Raiders finished the season 24-6 overall, with a 14-2 record in the Patriot League. More importantly, though, the Raiders took home their second-straight Patriot League Championship after defeating No.3 Navy 3-2 at Cotterell Court. The team concluded its season on December 2 in a hard-fought loss to Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

After their excellent regular season, the Raiders earned the No. 1 seed in November’s Patriot League Championship, which gave them a bye into the semifinals with a home-court advantage. There, at Cotterell Court, they met the competitive, gritty, fourth-seeded Loyola Maryland Greyhounds. In the semifinal, ‘Gate dominated their opponent with a 3-0 sweep – seven different players recorded at least one kill. The Raiders matched up with the third-seeded Navy Midshipmen in the finals, winning in a five-game stunner. 

“We were so successful because of how much everyone on our team was willing to give. Winning another championship was our goal from the very first day of the preseason, and to see that happen again as well as be a part of a team with such a great culture and commitment to each other is so special,” said junior libero Taylor Cigna, who earned All-Tournament honors.

Cigna recorded a team-high 19 digs against Navy, building on her stellar performance against Loyola Maryland. Joining Cigna, sophomore setter Syndey Jones also earned All-Tournament honors and junior middle blocker Harper Snyder earned Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player. Snyder racked up 10 kills in the crucial game against Navy, adding to great performances from graduate student setter Julia Kurowski and sophomore outside hitter Abby Shadwick, who had 15 kills apiece.

Moving on to the esteemed NCAA Tournament, ‘Gate traveled to the Petersen Events Center to match up against No. 6 ranked Pittsburgh in the first round. This match marked Colgate’s second-consecutive appearance in the tournament in two years. The Raiders battled through three sets against the tough opponent but ultimately came short of victory.

In the Patriot League, Kurowski and Shadwick earned All-League honors. Kurowski dominated the Patriot League this season, and is one of only two players in Patriot League history to earn Patriot League Player and Setter of the Year in the same season – a truly incredible accomplishment. She has now achieved Patriot League Setter of the Year three times and is Colgate’s only player to ever earn the honor. Having now racked up over 4,000 assists in her collegiate career, Kurowski also broke Colgate’s all-time assists record in the 2022 season. Certainly, Kurowski is a driving force for the team’s success, but many others also stepped up along the way.

“The most important thing that led us to a championship win was being a team: a team is a group of people who have unconditional love for each other. This season was about having an unstoppable collective, and it took us to another incredible season,” Kurowski said. 

Junior opposite hitter Gillian Hauschild further this sentiment of the importance of teamwork:

“This season we had a really special team and coaching staff that felt like a family. We all bought into the shared goal of winning another Patriot League Championship and reminded each other every day of that goal through our hard work and support for each other on and off the court,” said Hauschild.

Credit also goes to Patriot League Coach of the Year Ryan Baker, who won the honor for the fourth time in his Colgate coaching career. Under Baker, Colgate is 49-7 against league opponents since 2019. Moreover, Baker has pushed the team to nine appearances in the Patriot League Championship. Off the back of such a successful season, Colgate Volleyball has much to be excited about next season.