Volleyball Remains Undefeated in League

This weekend, the women’s vol-leyball team defended their unde-feated status in the Patriot League, maintaining their position atop the rankings with a 7-0 cumulative league record.

The Raider women conquered Navy first on Friday night, 3-0 and followed up the next afternoon with a sweep against American University. To sweeten the pot, the team enjoyed an enthusiastic home crowd for its Dig Pink Breast Cancer Awareness weekend. The match against Ameri-can marked head coach Ryan Baker’s 100th win at Colgate, making the event all the more exciting.

The Raiders were happy to return to Cotterell Court on Friday night for the first time since September 8 when the Raiders carried a disappointing 1-8 record. This time, they walked on the court determined to maintain their top spot in the Patriot League.

The team started off slow in the first set, trailing at first but eventually capturing the lead at 8-4. The teams then traded the next 17 points until Navy held the lead at 20-19. Junior Allie Dyer stood strong at the line with some consistent serving, and ju-nior setter Kaylee Fifer ended the set with a push for a 25-20 decision.

The Raiders continued to steam-roll over Navy in the start of the second set when they secured a com-fortable 14-7 lead with intimidating offense from senior outside Caitlin McCarthy, junior outside Lindsay Young and sophomore middle Mari Faines. Navy continued to chip away at Colgate’s lead and eventually took a 19-18 advantage over the Raiders. The teams tied at 22 a piece when sophomore middle Diane Seely, Mc-Carthy and Young each delivered a kill followed by a killer double-block from Young and sophomore right side Liz Karnes for a final score of 26-24.

After their close call, the Raider women were inspired by McCarthy and Seely at the net to gain a 8-2 lead. The teams once again evened out un-til the score hit 19-17. Navy then gave Colgate the gift of an easy point as they tallied a service error and forfeit-ed possession of the ball, opening up the set for the Raiders to finish on an 8-2 run to close the match at 25-21.

“It was absolutely wonderful to be back home in front of our crowd, the atmosphere was exciting and it truly sparked our team at key moments,” Baker said.

“I wouldn’t say it was our best ever match, but it was strong all around and the hitters and blockers were communicating really well,” McCar-thy, who finished with a team-high 12 goals, said after the match.

The Raiders returned to their home court on Saturday hoping for a repeat performance, which they were certainly able to pull off. Colgate opened up the match with an 11-7 lead over American University with a pair of kills from Seely and two more from Young and Karnes. American responded to tie the set at 14-14. The teams traded points until Col-gate took the 20-18 advantage after a costly American error. The Eagles tried to fight their way back into the set, but a strong Colgate offense kept them in the loser’s seat. The set end-ed with a 25-23 decision in favor of the Raiders.

Match two carried the same mo-mentum through as the Colgate team, sporting pink jerseys for their Dig Pink night for breast cancer awareness, snatched an early 7-1 lead. Dyer proved to be a force at the back line once again, earning an ace, and Fifer added another kill to the score. The Raiders maintained the com-manding gap as they increased the lead to a dominating 18-9. Colgate pushed through for an easy 15-16 win with only one set left in their weekend sweep.

This time it was the American Eagles to take an early lead as the Raiders fell behind 9-5 in set number three. The American triumph did not last long, however, and Colgate tied the set at 14 for the second time that day with a kill by Faines. The Raider women kept the momentum going and pushed through the next three points, taking a 17-14 lead.

Determined not to give up, the Eagles tied the game once again at 19 apiece, coming uncomfortably close to breaking the crucial 20-point threshold. Colgate missed two op-portunities to take the match, but American was able to hold on by a thread and eventually took the lead at 26-25. In the final hour, McCarthy and Faines tallied bouncing kills, and an Eagle error at the net put the nail-biter to a 28-26 close for the second Colgate sweep of the weekend.

With this incredible win, Baker became the second coach in Colgate history to break 100 wins, joining Janet Little.

The Raiders take on Lafayette and Lehigh this weekend at home. The games are slated for 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening and 3:00 p.m. the following afternoon, respectively.

Contact Emma Barge at [email protected].