Volleyball Defeats Two Patriot League Opponents

Emma Barge

Despite one disappointing loss to non-conference opponent Syracuse University, the Colgate volleyball team experienced measured success over the past two weeks with wins recorded in all three of its Pa­triot League matches. Colgate swept both Lehigh and Lafayette on September 30 and October 1 during its Dig Pink event to fight breast cancer, and conquered Bucknell in only four games the following Saturday, October 8.

Colgate eased slowly into its first set against Lehigh. Initially, the Raiders fell behind to a 9-3 lead, but senior Blaire Safir and first-year Kenzie Hume were able to feed off the strong crowd presence to start off a 7-1 run to tie the game at 10 apiece. Sophomore Kaylee Fifer helped with a kill of her own in addition to three Mountain Hawk errors. The Raiders took their mo­mentum through the tie to gain a 19-13 lead down the stretch. Sophomore Lindsay Young contributed four kills in the run and, after kills from several of her teammates, sealed the deal at 25-18 for the Raiders.

“We did a great job controlling the front of the net with our blocking and it was one of the best performances we have had in that category,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “Young was a major part of the of­fense tonight and Faines played exceptional at the front of the net as a blocker.”

Colgate had no trouble staying in system and powering through the remainder of the Lehigh match for games two and three. The Raiders came out to a strong start in game two with a 9-2 lead with five different players recording kills within those first 11 points. They were able to secure a 10-point lead at 20-10, and ended the second set in a 25-14 score. Although Lehigh attempted to come back in game three, the Raiders pushed their lead to 18-16 to be followed by a 7-3 run. Senior Kaylee Dougherty ended the game at 25-19 with a final kill.

“This was one of the best atmospheres at Cotterell Court in a long time,” said Baker. “I felt the fans were the difference makers tonight and the team hopes they show up again tomorrow.”

With the enthusiastic encouragement of the Colgate community and momen­tum under their wings, Colgate walked back onto Cotterell Court ready to take on Lafayette. The team once again walked away with a sweep on the books after dominating for three straight matches. Young led Colgate with 11 kills, and Fifer walked away with 29 assists for the match, while sophomore Lexi Finger contributed on defense with 10 digs of her own. The Raiders were controlled behind the line and maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the match.

The victorious weekend came to a close, and the Raiders suffered a defeat against Syracuse University last Wednesday. Each of the three sets was competitive and saw the two teams neck-and-neck in play until the last few points when the Orange were about to pull ahead and leave Colgate in the dust.

The team was able to make a comeback this past weekend, however, as they pulled off a 3-1 win over Patriot League opponent, Bucknell. Fifer set her career record and led Colgate with 12 kills and contributed 38 assists in the match.

“We got great production from our out­side hitters,” said Baker. “Young put up big numbers and she was a go-to player throughout the match. Blair Safir did a great job at the front and back line. I was extremely pleased with our passing game and this allowed us to hit well.”

Colgate came out strong in the opening set as it opened up a 10-5 lead after first-year Diane Seely and Fifer added three and two kills, respectively. Bucknell tried to close the gap, but were unable to come within three points of the Raiders and the first set ended in a 25-16 decision.

Colgate’s confidence proved unlucky in the second set when the Raid­ers allowed the Bison to trample them in a 25-21 loss, but the team came back to life in games two and three. They once again opened up a 10-5 lead in the third set thanks to controlled serving behind the line from Fifer and Dougherty. After a slew of Bucknell errors, sophomore Al­lie Dyer contributed two more aces and pushed the score to 14-6. Safir and Junior Michelle McCarthy each put away a kill to seal the deal at 25-12 for the Raiders.

Exhausted and frustrated, Bucknell let up even more in the final set of the match and allowed the Raiders to take a 10-2 lead at the start of play. Fifer and Young each recorded three kills within the first 10 points. Dyer came up strong from behind the line for a second time and recorded another pair of aces. Fifer ended the game at 25-15 with one last kill.

Colgate also defeated Cornell in four games over the break. The Raiders face off against Holy Cross at 7 p.m. at home on Friday and Army the next night at the same time.

Contact Emma Barge @ [email protected]