Three tough losses for volleyball
After a perfect opening weekend, the women's volleyball team headed into their first New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) matches energized and ready to face rival schools. Unfortunately, the weekend was not destined to be a success, as the Mules were unable to handle the tougher competition offered by their fellow NESCAC competitors. The week began with a non-conference loss to Bates College on Wednesday, followed by a close loss against Bowdoin College on Friday, and another loss at the hands of Tufts University on Saturday. With the three losses, Colby now has an even record of 3-3 and a 0-2 record in conference play. Although the team clearly did not turn in the dominating performance that it displayed during the first week of the season, the Mules came out of the tough weekend with their heads held high.
Against Bates, the Mules started slow and were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the match. The Bobcats took advantage of their early 7-1 lead to win the match by a score of 25-13, 25-17, 25-15. While Colby was unable to overcome the deficit, they demonstrated their resilience by fighting back late in the match. Emily Varni '13 led the team in kills with six, while Maggie Taylor '13 racked up 17 defensive digs. Lily Kramlich-Taylor '14 also had a good performance, contributing five kills, while Heather Arvidson '11 finished with four.
In their closest match of the week, Colby hosted the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Despite a valiant effort, Colby fell by a score of 25-20, 25-21, 25-15. Although they were unable to take a set, the Mules played very well against their longtime rival and the match was much closer than the 3-0 score indicates. Twice the Mules were able to come within five points of winning a set and never were they completely out of the competition. The team boasted outstanding performances across the board, as the Mules showed off their great team chemistry and depth. Kate Pleasants '14 continued her string of excellent performances from last week with 19 assists and 18 digs for the Mules. Clare Reich '11 contributed another 18 digs and Caitlin Burchill '12 and Varni each added 15 more. Burchill and Taylor were also major offensive forces with seven kills apiece.
The Mules' week ended on Saturday with a league match against a Tufts team that is undefeated in conference play. Pleasants turned in another solid performance with 15 assists and 14 digs. Reich added another 16 digs, Burchill 14, and Taylor 11. Burchill also ended the match with four kills and Taylor added two blocks to her stat sheet. Following her pattern of impressive performances was first-year Kramlich-Taylor who led the team with seven kills and had two blocks.
Although this week's performance lacked the dominance displayed by the Mules in their first weekend of play, there was plenty of good to be taken from the competition. The young players, especially Pleasants and Kramlich-Taylor, continued to impress and as a team the Mules seemed very cohesive and together.
Next weekend, the team will travel to Mass. to compete in the MIT Invitational with non-conference games against Endicott and Springfield. On September 29, Colby will once again play host to Bowdoin, hoping to come out on top this time and secure their first league win.