Volleyball Suffers Losing Weekend at the Yale Invitational in New Haven

Emma Barge

The women’s volleyball team struggled this past weekend in New Haven where they dropped two shut-out matches and picked up only one 3-0 win on Satur­day afternoon. The team faced Utah on Friday night and was unable to pick up a set. The Raiders faced Yale the next morning where they again lost 0-3. Sat­urday’s game against Boston College was a success for the Raider women, how­ever, after a somewhat disappointing opener at the Colgate Invitational the previous weekend.

The Utah game started low and slow for the Raiders, a returning theme from the 2010 season. It took two sets for Colgate to become aggressive on offense, but even that was not enough as they lost 26-24 at the fi­nal point. Despite the disappointing loss to Utah, sophomore Lexi Finger posted a ca­reer-high 20 digs on the match and fellow classmate Kaylee Fifer recorded 17 assists.

“We started too slowly tonight,” head coach Ryan Baker remarked. “It took us two sets to get aggressive, but once we did we were able to show how good we can be. Utah is a big and physical PAC-12 team who put us on our heels for a while.”

Colgate did see a glint of hope when they led 7-3 in the first points of the match, but Utah was unwilling to give up the win. They soon fought back and only allowed the Raiders 6 more points to their 22.

The second set was closer between the two teams, but it still did not result in a victory for the Raiders. The teams traded off points and leads at the start of play, but just as the score hit 15-12, the Utes went on a 6-3 run to break the 20-point barrier. The Raiders, left with 15 points, were unable to recover and lost the second set 25-16.

Determined to take away the third set, Colgate came out strong and took a 15-12 lead of their own with back-to-back kills from first-year Kenzie Hume and addi­tional points from classmates Mari Faines and Diane Seely. Colgate continued to climb to a 19-15 lead and seemed to have mental control over the game. Just then, Utah answered with four straight points after multiple Colgate errors. With fight still left, the Raiders responded once again and did not allow the Utes to gain the lead until after a 24-24 count Utah’s McK­enzie Odale and Morgan Odale scored back-to-back kills of their own to put the match away.

“We got good production out of our middles tonight which is really important if we want to continue to get better,” Baker said. “This team has all the parts needed to win. Every match is making us better for league.”

Saturday morning rolled around all too quickly for the Raider women who again were unable to record even a single set win. Even so, the final scores of each set were much closer and the level of play was significantly more competitive despite the unfortunate loss.

By the afternoon, the Raiders’s com­petitive spirit was at an all-time high. Se­nior Kaylee Dougherty reached a personal season-high of 11 kills while Fifer contrib­uted at the net and on defense with 28 assists and nine digs. Sophomore Caitlin Cremin also contributed on defense with a career-high 20 digs of her own in the 3-0 win over Boston College.

Colgate came out of the gate fast with a 6-2 lead over the Eagles after kills from Young, Fifer and Dougherty. The first set was all about the front row, with Seely and Hume shutting down opportunities for the Eagles offense to score.

Boston fought hard to get within one point of the Raiders at 7-6, but Colgate opened up their lead to 16-8 with fierce defense and incredible offense aided by several Eagle errors. Boston College chipped away and was able to cut the lead to 22-18, but Colgate shut them down and ended the first set 25-19.

With the momentum they had gained in the previous set, the Raiders got off to an­other great start and led the game 11-4 after kills from five of the Colgate players. Boston was unable to recover after the initial shock and fell to a 22-9 disadvantage. At the end of the 25-17 set, Cremin had recorded 12 digs, while three of her teammates recorded three kills apiece.

The Raiders were less dominating in the final set of the match, but still came out on top with a 25-23 victory over Boston. After their initial 7-3 lead, Colgate lost nine consecutive points to the Eagles, who pushed the lead until it reached 23-15.

Typically, it is difficult for teams with 15 or fewer points to come back after their opponents had broken the 20-point threshold, but the Raiders were deter­mined to make a comeback. They com­pleted an incredible 10-point run to end the final set at 25-23 and sweep the match.

“That was a very good win against a good ACC school,” Baker said. “We are battling injuries and players in new posi­tions yet we still came away with a win. Fifer did a great job leading when her team needed her to and they rallied around her.”

The Raiders hit the road again this weekend to travel to the Villanova In­vitational where they will face their host on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. and Texas Christian University and Loyola Mary­land on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. respectively.

Contact Emma Barge at [email protected]