Volleyball Sweeps Weekend Patriot League Play

Emma Barge

The Colgate volleyball team emerged from an exhilarating two-win weekend with a ticket to participate in the Patriot League Tournament, which will begin on November 19. The two victories over Lafayette (25-9, 25-15, 25-17) and Lehigh (25-16, 25-15, 25-21) have secured a spot in the tournament for the Raiders. Colgate is one of only three teams to have clinched a spot and is third in the standings, trailing the Army Black Knights and the American Eagles.

American has already secured the top seed, which gives it the right to host the four-team playoff weekend in the nation’s capital. With the sweep, the

Raiders keep their now four-game winning streak alive.

Friday night’s match against Lafayette started out with a bang as Colgate annihilated the Lafayette Leopards 25-9 in the first set. The staggering triumph came from a combination of Lafayette’s offensive errors and the Raiders’ aggressive front row. Despite the obvious discrepancy between the level of play on both teams, Colgate did not reduce itself to a less competitive level of play. Instead, it took advantage of Lafayette’s -.171 hitting efficiency percentage by playing consistently and coming up with a .286 efficiency score of its own.

In the second set, the Raiders let their confidence speak for them, coming out with a commanding 10-5 lead thanks to early kills by first-year Lindsay Young and junior Maureen Colligan. They further padded the score with even more offensive domination by senior tri-captain Logan Keala and a service ace by first-year Kaylee Fifer. Senior tri-captain Casey Ritt finished off the set with a strike against the Leopards to bring the score to

25-15 in ‘Gate’s favor.

Going into the third set with a two game advantage on its side, it would have been easy for Colgate to follow the trend often set by many volleyball teams, losing its diligence and letting one set go to the opponent. In fact, the Raiders did lose a bit of their fire, but not enough to light the torch for Lafayette. After the Leopards took the lead at 10-9 and again at 15-14, Colgate put it into gear and finished the set on a 10-1 point run thanks to a strong offense that was supported by senior

tri-captain Devon Applegate’s consistent

defense in the back.

“This is a credit to our setters and passers. It’s the best connection we’ve had with them in a while.” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “We have an important match tomorrow [last Saturday] and need the same energy

and communication.”

And they had it. On Saturday, the Raiders answered Baker’s call for communication and energy with the weekend’s second 3-0 match and the win that would guarantee them a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. Colligan was the clear leader on kills for the match, coming up with a solid 11 points on 24 attacks, while the highest kill count for Lafayette would only amount to nine out of 32 attempts. Keala also came up big, leading the team on defensive digs at 16 for the entire game and checking out with nine kills

on 24 attempts.

The key to winning this contest was pressure. Colgate came out to an early 10-4 lead and kept its systems tight throughout play.

“I’ve been really happy with how we have been playing the past two weeks and today’s match was another step in the right direction,” Coach Baker said. “Our blocking and serving really controlled the match along with strong play in the back row from Devon,


Catie [Cremin] and Lexi [Finger]. We were able to stress Lehigh for most of the match.”

The second set was closer throughout the first 20 points than the first game, which ended in a nine point differential, but the Raiders squashed any hopes for Lehigh toward the end of the set to make the final score for Lehigh 25-15, a one-point difference from the previous game. First-year Caitlin Cremin was the key to the second set, keeping her serve consistent for Colgate’s 7-0 run to the finish line in addition to her

impressive pair of aces to jump-start the

initial score.

With the stakes high in the end of the season, the Raiders could not expect to see the Mountain Hawks surrender for the loss. In the third set, Lehigh came out with a 12-9 lead at the halfway point. Colgate was then able to bring itself a good luck charm when they brought the score to a clutch 13-13 tie. From then on, the Raiders held onto the lead and closed out the match with the closest score they saw all weekend at 25-21.

“Since day one, our team has worked best under pressure,” Keala remarked at the end of the weekend. “I think we all knew that we had to sweep this weekend, and that both of these games would be crucial. We had a great week in practice and were able to carry that energy into the two games.”

When asked about the upcoming weekend matches, Keala explained, “Every Patriot League match is important. Winning both games this weekend is crucial. If we win, we can gain extra momentum going into the

Patriot League tournament.”

Colgate will try to do just that, carrying their momentum into the final weekend of regular season play. The Raiders will host Army on Friday and Holy Cross on Saturday for Senior Weekend. Friday’s match will begin at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s is slated for a 3 p.m. start.