Volleyball Remains on Top in League Play

Colgate volleyball split the record of their last two Patriot League regular season games, losing to American, 1-3, and de-feating Navy 3-1. With these final matches on record, the Raiders end the draw 12-2 in league play and enter the tournament at the top seed.

American was clearly the dominant force in Friday night’s fight between the two teams. The Eagles jumped out to an early 12-7 lead with kills from several of their own players but also thanks to a slew of Raider errors to pad their lead. Ameri-can was able to keep the momentum go-ing, extending their lead to 20-13, with only five points until they could close the set. The Raiders attempted to chip away at their deficit with two kills apiece from se-nior outside Caitlin McCarthy and sopho-more blocker Mari Faines but were unable to do so, and American closed the score at 25-18.

On the other side of the court, the Raiders were rejuvenated and ready to take on the Eagles for a second try at victory. Both teams started out strong and neither were able to take control of play to gain the lead. Colgate was the first to fire a string of offensive attacks for a 6-1 run over Ameri-can after the Raiders saw kills from four different players including sophomore blocker Diane Seely and sophomore right side hitter Liz Karnes. Colgate extended their lead to six at 19-13 after assists by Seely and junior setter Kaylee Fifer set the stage for some fierce offense. The Eagles did not give up easily and fought for an 8-2 run to tie the score at 21-all. In the end, back-to-back kills by McCarthy and Seely closed out the game for the Raiders and tied the match at one apiece.

Unfortunately, that would be the end of Colgate triumphs in the match, and Amer-ican took the next two games to close out the match with a 3-1 score after taking the first set in a decisive 25-15 score and the second in another devastating 25-16.

Colgate finally got back on their feet as they headed to Annapolis, Md. for their final regular season matchup against Navy. The Midshipmen came out strong with an early 10-7 lead over the Raiders with strong offensive attacks, but Colgate was deter-mined to come out on top and fought back with kills from Karz and back-to-back er-rors from Navy. The teams were neck and neck until the Raiders got their first lead at 17-16 after yet another Navy error – this time from behind the line – tallied a point for Colgate. The team stretched the lead to three at 20-17 after a pair of success-ful attacks by Faines and McCarthy. Seely was soon to follow up and put up a com-manding block and striking kill to put the Raiders in the clear for a first-set victory.

The Raiders took the momentum from the first set and ran with it, taking a 5-1 lead early on in the second game with yet more kills from McCarthy and Seely. Junior libero Caitlin Cremin also con-tributed an ace to push the Raider lead ahead. Navy retaliated with a string of four consecutive points to tie the game at five all. The Midshipmen then took a three-point lead at 13-10, but the Raiders soon tallied a pair of kills from Young to cut their deficit to only one point. Despite the Raider effort, Navy burst ahead with a 6-2 run to open up their lead and ran with their momentum until the end of the set when it ended play with a commanding 25-16 score.

The two teams battled it out in the third set. Navy took an early lead, but Colgate quickly countered with a 7-4 run including two kills by Young and a kill and block by Fifer. The teams traded posses-sion for the next 15 points until the Raid-ers opened up a five-point lead with just as many kills to make the score 18-13. Navy tied up the score once again at 21 due to some tough offense and a Colgate error. The teams played hard in the final points of the set but it was the Raiders to come out victorious with a 2-1 lead in the match as they took the third set, 26-24.

Colgate took the early lead in the fourth set with a doubling 8-4 score after three kills from Young and a pair from Hume. The Midshipmen tried to get back into the set, but the Raiders shut them down with a decisive 7-0 run after three impressive aces from Cremin and kills by Hume and McCarthy boosted the team’s intensity and brought the score to 16-7. After this, Navy was not able to get back into the match and the Raiders took the match 3-1.

“This was a total team effort today,” head coach Ryan Baker said. “Kenzie Hume and Kate Reily came in and really changed the match. I am very fortunate to have this type of depth … Being named regular season champions is a great accom-plishment. The credit goes to our senior and junior leadership.”

The Raiders enter the Patriot League Tournament at the top of the pile and will host play on Saturday and Sunday on Cot-terell Court. They will play fourth-ranked Lehigh at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The cham-pionship match is slated for a 3 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon.

Contact Emma Barge at [email protected].