Volleyball goes 1-1 in NESCAC
Kate Pleasants ’14 tips the ball over the net against Bates College.
Women’s volleyball bounced back from a loss to Bowdoin College Friday night to trample Bates College in a home victory on Saturday, Sept. 17. The weekend matches leave the Mules 1-1 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
Despite the 3-1 loss to Bowdoin, the Mules played hard against the Polar Bears on Sept. 16. The captains, seniors Caitlin Burchill and Mackie Sewell, led the offense with eight and 11 kills, respectively. Junior Emily Varni kept defense strong with 14 digs.
After falling to Bowdoin 25-16 in the first set, the Mules fought back to win the second set 25-16. Unfortunately, the Mules lost the last two sets 25-14 and 25-17. Sophomore Anna Clifford said, “I think we were all a little down because we put so much into it, and we knew we were so close to being able to win. We put everything we had into game two, and in the end it wasn’t enough. That can always be a little disheartening, when even your best effort isn't able to get you what you want.”
Burchill added, “It was a tough match, and we really battled back and forth with them, but we just couldn't finish. It was frustrating.” Still, keeping things on a positive note, Burchill said, “We took a set from them and stayed confident throughout the match.”
Both Burchill and Sewell expressed excitement over the scheduled rematch later this season. “I think we’re going to be an even better team for when we see them in October,” Sewell said.
By Saturday morning, the Mules had turned their frustration from the Bowdoin loss into motivation versus NESCAC foe Bates. Sophomore Kate Pleasants, who had an impressive 38 digs and 18 assists against the Bobcats, said the Mules didn’t let the previous night’s game get to them. “The loss against Bowdoin didn’t make any of us nervous to play Bates,” she said. “If anything, it pumped us up to play just as hard and come out with a win.”
The match against Bates was a glowing testament to the volleyball team’s incredible willpower and remarkable athleticism. The Mules and Bobcats were neck and neck throughout the first set until Colby pulled ahead for a 25-21 win. The set was an amazing way to kick off the match. Each point was hard-earned and fought for with intensity.
In the second set, the Mules stayed close until Bates pulled ahead for a 25-20 win. The Mules did not lose focus after the loss. Instead, they fought back and won the last two sets 25-15 and 25-23. Junior Maggie Taylor, who Sewell praised for “playing smart” and being “a commanding presence in the game,” led the team with 12 kills, and Varni once again anchored the defense with 19 digs.
“I was really proud that we didn't just swing away; we beat Bates by playing intelligently and hitting the spots they couldn't cover. It made us a very frustrating team to play,” Sewell said.
Clifford agreed, saying that beating the Bobcats “wasn’t just an easy victory,” which “always makes it more satisfying.”
From the sidelines, Coach Candice Parent helped lead the Mules to the inspiring conference win. The affection and excitement Parent brings to the huddle translates in the Mules’ on-court enthusiasm and positive attitude. Before hitting the court to win the third set, Parent led the players in a cheer of “together!”