The Colgate volleyball team suffered a pair of tough losses in its final two regular season matches last weekend. The Raiders dropped their Friday match against Army in yet another 5-set heartbreaker and crumbled against Holy Cross in a 3-1 decision. In a stroke of good fortune, the Raiders maintained their position in the fourth seed as they enter into the Patriot League Tournament.
The Army match started with both teams equally on the board and tied at 14 all. At that point, the Raiders charged forward and grasped their first advantage at 18-17. Continuing to challenge the Army defense, Colgate went off for a 6-1 run and the score hit 24-18, only one point from a win. The Black Knights would not sacrifice the last point of the set easily, however, and answered the Raider run with five points of their own. It was first-year Diane Seely at the net who fired away for the winning kill, capping the score at a close 25-23. Sophomore Lindsay Young tallied a leading five kills in the first game.
Frustrated and determined, Army came out to a quick 10-5 lead in the second set. The Raiders were unable to catch up for the rest of the set and stumbled through a 15-8 winning run for the Black Knights. Colgate’s offense posted a weak six kills throughout all 38 played points, paling in comparison to Army’s 17 in the 25-13 decision.
Once again, the Raiders got off to a slow start in set number three when Army took a slim 11-9 lead in the first 20 points. As the score crept to 19-16, Colgate fought back as sophomore Kaylee Fifer and junior Michelle McCarthy tallied kills. Even with the extra effort, however, Colgate was unable to turn the tables on the Army team and the match score hit a threatening 2-1 lead for the Black Knights at a convincing 25-17.
It was the Raiders’s turn to make a comeback in the fourth set, and they took control over play early on with a 14-6 lead over Army thanks to a trio of kills from Seely as well as two from Fifer, McCarthy and Young. Just as the Black Knights began to chip away at the point gap, Colgate went on a second run to push the score to 18-11. Army was not keen to let their winning set slip. They fired back with a fierce 11-2 run and took the 22-20 lead only three points away from closing the game and match. The Raiders regained their footing after the blow and took back five points, forcing the 2-2 match into a tiebreaker round.
Unfortunately, it was Army that took the early 10-5 lead in the short set with several aggressive offensive attacks. With the weight of a significant deficit on their shoulders, Colgate was unable to bounce back and lost the fifth set 15-8 to Army.
“This was another great battle between two very evenly matched teams,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “Of course we are disappointed with the loss, but there are a lot of positives collectively and individually that we will build upon as we prepare for next week’s Patriot League Tournament. Seely was huge for us on the net tonight and Safir made some big plays for us defensively.”
Going into their final regular season match against Holy Cross, the Raiders were discouraged and slow. They gave the Crusaders a 10-7 lead right off the bat in the first set. As soon as they were within reach at 11-9, Holy Cross extended their lead to 20-13 and Colgate gave up the opening set 25-16.
Senior Blaire Safir took the second set into her hands with a six-point serving run. Fifer and McCarthy contributed once again with two kills each, but it was not enough to keep Holy Cross down and the Raiders once again fell to a 12-11 disadvantage after an offensive error hit the books. With the Crusader lead at 16-12 over Colgate, the Raider offense regrouped and rallied. Senior Maureen Colligan and classmate Kaylee Dougherty each tallied roofs while Seely recorded another kill. With Colgate only one point behind them, the Crusaders went on a 9-5 run to end the once hopeful set at 25-20 to secure a two set lead in the match.
The Raiders came out with heart in the third set and kept a tight score with Holy Cross. With the score tied at a Colgate lucky 13, the team fired away with a 7-1 run. Dougherty came up with a pair of kills as well as an assisted block while sophomore Lexi Finger drove an ace past Holy Cross serve receivers. In a triumphant last point, McCarthy closed the set at 25-19 and Colgate’s name finally hit the set count with 2-1 for the match.
Unfortunately, hope for a Raider win was put to rest in what would be the final set in the competition as the Crusaders opened up a 10-5 lead in the first 15 points. Despite Colgate’s best efforts, they were unable to close the gap even after they climbed to a 14-14 knot. Holy Cross secured the win with an 11-6 run and 25-20 final score.
The loss made it impossible for Colgate to climb to third seed in the Patriot League tournament, and the Raiders will face first-place American University on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the semifinal match.
Contact Emma Barge at [email protected]