The Colgate volleyball team split yet another weekend of conference play with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-19) loss to American University and a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) win against Navy this past weekend. Colgate, with its 5-4 PL, 12-11 overall record, now occupies fourth place in the Patriot League, trailing American, Army and Bucknell. Only four matches remain in the Raiders’ regular season schedule until playoffs begin on November 19. Colgate will have the home court advantage for all four matches, and the stage is set for a successful couple of weeks.
The Raiders knew that Friday’s match would be a challenging one, given American’s place in the standings. Having already lost one match (1-3) to the Eagles, ‘Gate knew what it would take to win, but it proved to be too much and Colgate lost to American with all three set scores in the teens. The Colgate offense only managed to count 22 kills throughout the match, with senior tri-captain Casey Ritt leading with a total of 6 kills. Junior Kaylee Dougherty and first-year Lindsay Young each contributed 5 points off kills. On the defensive end, senior tri-captain Devon Applegate defended from the back, picking up 11 digs overall.
The polished American system, however, was too strong for the Raiders to handle. Magdalena Tekiel picked up a leading 11 kills overall, followed by Angelina Waterman with nine, and Juliana Crum with eight. The difference came, as is typical in volleyball, with the stark contrast between defensive successes. American University’s senior libero Deborah Frantz left the match with 17 defensive digs.
It was clear from the beginning of the first set that the Eagles were a force to be reckoned with, and jumped to a 10-6 lead over the Raiders. This was as close as Colgate would get in that set, and the final score quickly came to a devastating 25-14.
The Raiders seemingly turned it around in the second set when they led by three with a score of 7-4, but they could not ride the wave of American errors for long, and after losing the lead at 14-13 to Waterman’s kill, Colgate gave up a 9-3 streak and lost the game 25-17 in the end. The third game would end similarly, but the score stayed much tighter throughout. Ritt gained four of her six overall kills in this set, and Dougherty racked up three of her overall five.
Luckily, the frustration that came from the American match helped the Raiders get fired up in time for their Saturday match against Navy, who they would beat 3-0. Friday’s defeat especially aided the offense, which expressed its own aggravation through a count of 51 overall kills in the match.
“We won in convincing fashion tonight,” Head Coach Ryan Baker commented at the end of the night. “We controlled the match with our serve. This was a much needed victory after a long road stretch. Our seniors set the tone mentally and everyone followed their lead. The team is looking forward to being home for the next three weeks.”
The first set flew by with Colgate earning 17 of its 25 winning points with bouncing kills in the backcourt. The second set went more slowly, with intermittent ties and breakaways by both teams, but the Raiders walked away with another win, this time to the tune of 25-19. The third game saw a similar pattern, but this time the Mids fought back with more force than the two previous games. After losing the lead early, they tied at 11-11 and broke away in the next points until they reached 17-14. Colgate, however, responded with three consecutive points to tie the game again at 17-17. The teams traded the lead until the score reached 20-19 with the Mids up, then to 22-19 with the same team at advantage. Any lingering taste of bitterness on the tongues of the Colgate team due to the previous night’s loss prevented any further points to be won by the Mids, and the Raiders fired back with a 6-0 streak to take the set and match at 25-22.
The team returns to the comfort of Cotterell this coming weekend to face travel partner Bucknell on Saturday at 4 p.m.