Volleyball Goes 2-1 at Home

Emma Barge

The Colgate women’s volleyball team hosted  the Colgate Invitational this past weekend at Cotterell Court. The Raiders competed against Akron, Connecticut and Cornell, and finished the tournament 2-1.

The Raiders fell short in their first match against the Akron Zips, 3-2, with a tough 15-7 loss in the final set.

Colgate and Akron traded the lead several times throughout set one with notable kills by left-handed junior setter Blaire Safir, sophomore Michelle McCarthy and junior outside Maureen Colligan, who would continue swinging to rack up a team-leading 14 overall kills in the match. In an unfortunate ending, however, the Zips claimed a 25-22 win over the Raiders.

After fighting back in the second set to post a winning score of 25-22 and another victory in the third set with a score of 25-21, Colgate dropped the fourth set. The Zips continued their momentum from this win into the final set of the match, and walked away with the win.

“We completely dropped the Friday game after it was over, which allowed us to move on and focus on Connecticut and then Cornell,” senior tri-captain Devon Applegate said. “We played a lot more consistently on Saturday and were able to finish both games, which we struggled with the night before.”

Defeated but not discouraged, the Raiders picked up their first win of the home tournament against the University of Connecticut Huskies on Saturday afternoon. The match was a close one, with the Raiders winning by a two-point margin in the final set, 15-13, after a 25-22 win in the second and a 25-15 win in the first.

The first set of the match set an aggressive tone that would continue for the Raiders in sets two and three, where the team would out-hit the Huskies 39 to 33 by the end of the match. McCarthy came up big with 10 kills posted in the contest. Working with first-year setter Kaylee Fifer, McCarthy as well as senior tri-captain middle blocker Casey Ritt and her opposite, first-year Lindsay Young, were most successful when hitting the quick backset for kills that

ricocheted off the Huskies’ block.

UConn, however, would not give the Raiders an easy win. In the final set, the Raiders secured an 11-8 lead after a run of points, but the Huskies fought back after a timeout with a series of tough serves aided by a couple of Raider errors to regain the lead at 11-13. The lead was traded between the two teams after every few points, with long rallies and scrappy, out of system plays saving each team under pressure.

After the Raiders’ own timeout, senior tri-captain Logan Keala scored a first-ball kill from first-year Caitlin Cremin’s perfect pass off the UConn serve. Junior Kaylee Dougherty followed up to tie the set at 16-16 with a quick set out of the hands of Fifer. A few errors on the part of the Huskies and an ace by Cremin that shot through the hands of the UConn passer lead the Raiders to game point, where Safir ended the match with a left-handed cut cross-court. The final set ended at 25-23 to complete the Raiders’ sweep.

At the beginning of the second match of the day against the Cornell Big Red, it seemed as though the Raiders had exhausted themselves in the afternoon’s win. Losing the first two sets of the match 20-25 and 21-25, Colgate needed three consecutive set wins in order to secure the victory.

Despite the difficulty of the task, ‘Gate worked well under pressure for a huge comeback to win the match. Turning the game around with a crushing 25-12 win in the third set, the Raiders continued to push forward against the Big Red. The fourth game saw a pushback on the part of Cornell, but the Raiders maintained their lead throughout the set.

The match ended with the Colgate team out-hitting Cornell 61-49 thanks to Dougherty, Ritt and Colligan with support from Applegate, who posted 14 digs, and Fifer’s 24 assists.

The Raiders will take the court this upcoming weekend as they host Navy on Friday and American on Saturday for their first weekend of Patriot League play.

“This week will take a lot of focus,” Applegate said. “We won’t be making any huge changes but we will be focusing on the small part of our game, which will allow us to beat Navy and American.”

Friday’s contest is slated for a 6 p.m. start, while Saturday’s is expected to begin at 4 p.m