The women’s volleyball team struggled to find their footing this weekend on Cotterell Court where they lost two of three matches in the Colgate Classic. Despite Coach Baker’s confidence in his players and the initial 2-0 lead against Buffalo in the season opener, the Raider women fell short and lost the battle in five games. Colgate went on to play Seton Hall on Saturday morning and lost in a 3-1 fight. It was clear that the team felt extremely frustrated by the outcomes of the first two matches. They came out with fire in the tournament’s final match, their second against Buffalo, and won by a 3-1 margin.
Despite the apparent failure, the Colgate team did experience measured success. Sophomore Lindsay Young led the team in kills on Friday night with a career-high 16 and team-high 17 digs on the books. Breakout star, first-year Diane Seely, posted 10 kills in her debut game along with five blocks. Sophomore Kaylee Fifer also contributed to play with 34 assists and 16 digs overall.
“Lindsay Young was a consistent presence both offensively and defensively,” coach Ryan Baker noted. “She made some big plays for us the entire match.”
Each of the match’s four games was ultimately decided by errors. Colgate was able to jump out to an early lead in the first and second sets due to Buffalo’s mistakes. However, as the game progressed, the Bulls were able to cut their errors and push ahead while Colgate lost their rhythm.
“We are definitely disappointed that we didn’t end the match after being up 2-0 in games, but preseason is about learning,” Baker said. “We had some really positive moments throughout the match, and we hope to build upon those tomorrow. The future is bright if we continue to get better from here.”
Unfortunately, a bright future for the Raider team did not present in the first Saturday game against Seton Hall. The Raiders struggled once again to grasp the win. The first set of the match capped at 26-24 and was a glimpse of hope for Colgate despite the loss. The Pirates proceeded to win the next set with a comfortable 25-11 margin. The third set saw an intensified ‘Gate team and ended in favor of the home team with a fairly safe 25-21 margin. The Raiders were unable to continue the higher level of play and fell to the Pirates in the final set of the match, 25-20.
Having turned out such a successful season last year, the Raider women were fed up and frustrated with their inability to record a win. They came back with fire in their second game on Saturday where they faced off against Buffalo again.
“This team showed tremendous heart and fight,” Baker said. “Our seniors demonstrated key leadership at key moments, which is what we need and expect from them. Everyone stepped up when they needed to. This match showed how deep we are.”
Every member of the team pulled her own weight in the match. Young made a statement once again at the net with 13 kills and two blocks and also contributed on defense with nine digs. Senior Kaylee Dougherty and first-year Kenzie Hume also stood tall at the net with six kills each. Fifer ended the match with 14 assists, and senior Blaire Safir recorded 13 of her own. The defense also stepped up its game with multiple players recording double-digit digs.
“Kaylee Fifer had a tremendous match both offensively and defensively,” Baker emphasized. “I felt our back row play was the difference in the match.”
The final match of the weekend did not start well for the Raiders. With the urgency to record their first win, however, the Colgate seniors set the tone and stepped up at the net for a 7-1 run against Buffalo. The teams continued neck-in-neck until a pair of Colgate kills and Bull errors allowed the Raiders to post the first win for the match.
Buffalo was not willing to give up so easily and came back swinging in the second set for a devastating 25-8 win. To the Raiders’ dismay, Buffalo then came out to a 9-2 advantage in set three. Colgate focused on their mental game and chipped away at the deficit. They were eventually able to catch up and surpass the Buffalo team for a 25-22 win.
The fourth set saw a second bout of close play, but once again the Raiders were able to conquer and record the win for both the set and match with a final 25-20 score.
Colgate will travel to New Haven for the Yale Invitational this Friday and Saturday where they will face Utah, Yale and Boston College.