Volleyball Climbs to Third in Patriot League

Emma Barge

The Colgate volleyball team came out on top this Saturday with an exciting win against the Bucknell Bison to settle in third place in the Patriot League. With a final score of three sets to one (17-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-18), the Raiders dominated the match and set themselves up well for the final two weeks of the regular season.

The first set did not display the same Raider success that would define the rest of the match, as Bucknell walked away with a comfortable 25-17 win. The game be­gan with the Raiders struggling to stay in system. Despite the defense’s ability to get touches on the ball, the execution was not clean and the back row failed to support the offense or to keep up with the fast pace of the head referee.

Many of Colgate’s points came from tools off of the hands of the Bucknell block and from Bison errors at the net on offense. After a disputed touch on the outside gave Bucknell their 21st point, Colgate rode its frustration to earn its next point.

After this small burst of energy, how­ever, the Raiders seemed to be distracted and disoriented and continued to play out of system. On the sidelines, Head Coach Ryan Baker was clearly disappointed with the lack of effort to execute.

Fortunately, he was able to channel his frustrations and communicated a new plan of action to the Raiders in his talk between the first and second sets. From the begin­ning of set two, Colgate came out with more energy, better communication and better execution as a result.

The Raiders got their first point off of an out of bounds hit by the Bucknell right side. Then, a consecutive point was won on a scrappy play with rookie Kaylee Fifer playing key defense on short balls, even as a setter.

Directly after, Colgate posted another two points from senior Logan Keala’s tool off of the Bucknell right side and junior Kaylee Dougherty’s block on the right side for the fourth point of the match.

Despite losing possession due to a net violation on the outside, the Raiders were able to make a quick recovery on a huge kill by junior outside hitter Maureen Colligan that bounced cross-court.

Communication was the key to the last three sets of the match. Before each serve, Bucknell hitters were clearly identified and seams between Colgate players were divvied up in preparation for serve receive.

During the play, defense flowed more smoothly and the team was able to stay in system for a greater amount of time than in the first set.

Even after becoming too comfortable towards the end of the sets and giving up a few points to the Bison, the Raiders were able to call audibles on offense to catch Bucknell off-guard.

“This was a complete team win,” Baker said. “Our pass was there, which allowed our setters to make the right choices. Everyone contributed and I am proud of the effort.”

Colgate will attempt to continue this run when it plays Lafayette and Lehigh this weekend at home. The Raiders have posted wins against both teams earlier this season.