Volleyball Kicks Off Season With Colgate Classic

This weekend, the Colgate Raiders hosted various teams for the Colgate Classic and their first home games of the year. The team could not have started out their 2013 season stronger, going 3-0 for the weekend and never losing a set.

The first game was played on Friday, August 30 against Central Connecticut State, ending in a 26-24, 25-18, 25-15 sweep. Senior Lindsay Young and first-year Kathleen Harris – who was playing in her first match for the Raiders – tallied 14 kills each, while senior setter Kaylee Fifer added 37 assists and senior libero Caitlin Cremin had 26 digs on the defensive end.

The Central Connecticut Blue Devils, coming off a loss to St. Johns, were eager to get back on the court. However, Colgate kicked off their season with an early lead, surging ahead to 11-6 after kills from Young, sophomore Katie Reilly and a service ace from Harris.

The Blue Devils responded by tying the game at 12-12, but much to their chagrin Colgate recaptured the lead bringing the score to 20-17. The game remained neck-in-neck, as Central Connecticut upped their play and brought the score to 23-21. The game ended in a service ace by senior libero Lexi Finger, with a score of 26-24.

In the last two sets, Colgate was able to hit their stride, and handily won each game. Colgate jumped to an 8-4 advantage in the second set, never relinquishing their lead. Harris and first-year  Katie Stebbins ended the set at 25-18 with back-to-back kills.

The Raiders dominated in the third and final set, starting with a 12-4 lead and ending in a final score of 25-15 after an error by the Blue Devils. Stebbins scored four kills, and Fifer and Cremin added points to the board. 

“This was a great start to our season,” head coach Ryan Baker said. “We had a great night offensively, which stems from a strong passing and setting game. [Harris] and [Young] attacked at a very high percentage, which is something we expect and need from them.”

The next day, the Raiders saw similar success against St. Johns, with sophomore Diane Seely stealing the spotlight. In three sets, Seely tallied 14 kills – hitting at 61 percent – and five blocks. Cremin and Fifer had 15 digs and 33 assists, respectively.

Colgate began the match with an early 10-7 lead after three kills by Young. After a 9-5 run, the score remained in Colgate’s favor at 19-12. Three of the final six points belonged to Seely, and junior Kenzie Hume closed out at 25-14 the game with a kill.   

The second game saw much more back-and-forth play, as neither team ever had more than a three-point lead. After a kill from Seely, Colgate regained their lead that they held onto for the rest of the set. Harris put the set away with a kill at 25-20. The Raiders won the final game 25-15 with kills from Young and Harris and aces from Cremin.

“This is a big win for our program,” Baker said. “Anytime you face a physical Big East opponent like St. Johns, it means a lot. Our effort was tremendous. Diane had a big match for us. She has really made some tremendous strides this summer and her hard work is paying off.”

The Raiders faced off against Binghamton in their final match of the weekend, and, once again, Harris and Seely were able to put a lot of points on the board. The match culminated in three wins for Colgate, with scores of 25-21, 25-20 and 25-11. While the first two sets were tougher for the Raiders, the team capped off the tournament with a decisive win in game three. Harris, Seely and Fifer were also awarded spots on the All-Tournament Team.

“We need to build upon this weekend and get ready for yet another challenging, but exciting brand of volleyball at the Yale tournament,” Baker said. Colgate hits the court again this weekend in New Haven, Connecticut at the Yale Invitational.

Contact Annie Schein at [email protected].