The Colgate women’s volleyball team has come out even over the past two weeks of play, with a pair of wins against Lehigh (22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-18, 16-14) and Lafayette (25-18, 25-22, 27-25) as well as two losses against Albany (33-31, 25-20, 17-25, 25-17) and Bucknell (25-17, 29-27, 23-25, 18-25, 10-15). Colgate currently ranks fourth of eight teams in the Patriot League.
The team started out the month of October with a bang, taking a 3-2 thriller in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania against Lehigh. The girls started off slow, giving up the first two sets to the Mountain Hawks. This meant the Raiders would have to win three straight sets to take the match.
First-year Kaylee Fifer posted a season-high 43 assists to outside hitters, junior Maureen Colligan and senior tri-captain Logan Keala to hold down the offense for the Raiders. Senior tri-captain Devon Applegate again did well on the defensive end of the game, posting 28 digs for ‘Gate.
That being said, the Colgate offense that ran off of Applegate’s passing was much more focused on the outsides compared to Lehigh. Predictable hitting makes it easier for passers to anticipate what is coming, but Keala and Colligan were able to vary their hitting styles and locations enough to keep Lehigh on its toes, even with a two-set lead.
“We once again found a way to win,” Head Coach Ryan Baker said. “This team shows more composure as the match goes on. Devon was the most steady I have ever seen her. She lead us the entire match. I am proud to have a team of fighters.”
The struggles of the first and second games, and the close scores in the third were not enough to kill the Raider spirit, and Colgate came out on top in the fifth set with a 16-14 score.
The very next day, ‘Gate traveled to Easton, Pennsylvania to face Lafayette for its second match of the weekend. The Raiders carried their momentum from the exciting win at Lehigh to put away the 3-0 sweep against the Leopards.
That is not to say that Lafayette did not put up a fight, however. Just like the match before, the last set of this match ended in an “overtime” score of 27-25, two points over the typical game cap.
The final score was a solid testament to the closeness of the game overall. Colgate lagged in the first set, never evening the score until a 13-point spurt to win the game at 25-18. The second and third games went along similarly, with the Leopards initially securing a comfortable lead and the Raiders slowly but surely regaining control and the final win.
All in all, it was a team effort and each Colgate point was earned by the combined play of all the different elements on the team.
“This wasn’t our best match of the year, but any road win in league play is good,” Coach Baker said. “Devon once again was consistent for us. She anchored the back row both physically and mentally. We were also able to get contributions from the whole team at
Unfortunately, the second weekend of October was not so kind to the Raiders. Colgate dropped its last non-conference match to Albany in four sets. The October 6 sets were even closer than those of the weekend prior. Applegate was again a key player in the match, posting 22 digs overall and several aces.
After the lengthy first set, the Raiders had a difficult time recovering and would only take one more set from the Great Danes with a respectable score of 25-17. Despite an initial lead in the fourth set, ‘Gate lost the overall match 3-1 with a final set score that reversed the numbers of the third set: Colgate 17, Albany 25.
The long travel continued on Friday night at Bucknell where Colgate once again dropped a Patriot League match.
This time, the Raiders took Bucknell to five sets, each with competitive scores, but they were unable to post a win. The offense diversified with senior tri-captain Casey Ritt posting 11 kills to match Keala’s 11. Colligan posted 12, thanks to ample opportunities to swing off of Applegate’s 28 digs.
The Raiders found themselves in a state of constant catch-up. The Bison came out to strong leads in both the first and second sets, making it difficult for the Colgate to ever pull ahead.
After the first two initial losses, ‘Gate broke ahead and took two consecutive games from the Bison. Ritt and Colligan supported the defense with blocking up front, but it was not enough to secure the match. The Raiders gave up the fifth set to Bucknell, 10-15.
Colgate will take the court again this weekend, when it travels to Holy Cross and Army. Friday’s match is slated for a 7 p.m. start in Worcester, MA while Saturday’s contest will begin at 4 p.m. in West Point, NY.
The Raiders are now 3-2 in the Patriot League and 10-9 overall.