Volleyball earns spot in playoffs

Colby’s Fill the Stands Event kicked off on Friday with a home match for the volleyball team. The Mules were coming off a five-game NESCAC losing streak. Before fall break, the Mules had dropped matches to both Connecticut College and Tufts 3-0. The week was not without a bright spot, though, as the team was able to defeat Brandeis 3-1. Still, Colby wanted to prove they could compete with the best teams in the league. There were few better teams to prove their worth against than Middlebury who was the ninth-ranked team in New England and ranked first in the NESCAC in both hitting percentage and kills. In the first set, the women fell behind 20-21.With Middlebury needing only four more points to win the set, things looked bleak for Colby. However, the Mules did not give up, and neither did their fans.The team turned it around and stormed back to a 24-22 lead. Middlebury had a chance to score on the next play, but Natalie Roy ’16 made a remarkable save. This was nothing new to Roy who ranks sixth in the NESCAC for digs. The play was finished off by Emily Moslener ’18. With their first set win in over five league matches, the Mules looked to carry their momentum into the next set. However, they fell victim to back-to-back set losses. One was a close 25-23 affair but the other loss was by a score of 25-16. This was especially frustrating because the teams were tied up 14-14 earlier in the set. Colby came back fighting in the fourth set. The team returned Middlebury’s convincing set win with one of their own, winning 25-17. The final set was hard-fought, with girls trying to dig themselves out of 14-8 hole. They got three straight points but could not hold off Middlebury long enough. The Panthers won the final set 15-11, taking home the match 3-2.
There was no time to sulk as Colby had another match to play the next day. The match had high stakes: a win would give the team a berth in the NESCAC volleyball playoffs. The playoffs have eluded Colby for the past two years, so the team made sure that a playoff spot did not slip through their fingers again. Hamilton entered Waterville with just a single NESCAC victory this season. However, both teams had just come off 3-2 losses the previous day which meant extra energy for their match. This led to a tightly contested affair as Colby took the first two sets 25-15 and 25-18. Momentum shifted, however, and suddenly Hamilton had tied up the match two sets apiece with 25-23 and 25-18 wins. The final set began tightly-contested, with the Mules holding only a 9-8 lead. But suddenly the girls went on a run, scoring six of the final seven points to win 25-9. The crowd roared as the final point was won and the players rejoiced on the court, happy to gain their first spot in the playoffs in three years.
Kim Donaldson ’16 had herself an impressive game with ten kills, having already been ranked ninth in the NESCAC going into the game. Her effort this game in addition to the 17 she had against Middlebury ensured she remained in the top ten kill rankings for this week. She was not the only member of the team with ten kills against Hamilton, though, as senior captain Sarah Arvidson ’16 matched her feat. Looking forward, the team hopes to carry their momentum into the week ahead as they face Husson at home on Tuesday October 13.

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