It started in our familiar Reid Arena and ended in Georgetown, Texas. During this journey, history was made by a group of women from Colorado College. The women’s volleyball team had a record-breaking start to their 2013 season with 17 consecutive wins. This beats the previously held program record by three games.
The 14-0 record was held for nearly 30 years by the 1985 CC squad. However, that record was made during the best-out-of-three games format before the NCAA switched to rally-scoring in 2001 (rally scoring means that the team does not have to be controlling the serve to score a point; instead, anytime the ball hits the floor, a point is scored).
Under different rules and with a young team, the 2013 squad broke that record and kept going, with wins at home and in Iowa and Texas. In this streak of 17 matches, they only lost a total of five games. Most of their matches were straight set victories .
This year’s squad is an extremely young team. With 16 on the roster, there is not a single senior. Three-fourths of the team are underclassmen and over half the team are sophomores. But how has this impacted the clearly successful team?
Defensive specialist Sophie Merrifield, sophomore, was named Defensive Player of the Week by the SCAC for two weeks in a row. She shared the title for a third week. “The youth have done an amazing job of stepping up to help our team succeed,” she said. “With such a young team, and no seniors, we know that there is a lot of potential, which inspires us to improve each day of practice. The bond we have created as a team off the court has helped us know how to work with one another on the court and has definitely contributed to our success. The upperclassmen have done a wonderful job of being role models to the underclassmen, and their constant support has allowed us to be comfortable and confident on the court.”
Other members of the team seem to agree and see the youth of the team as an opportunity for future program development. “We have a lot of young talent which leaves a lot of room for improvement and growth as a team,” said sophomore outside hitter Emily Phillips.
The team is close-knit. All of the team members except one are from California, Colorado, or Texas. “We are very close and have great chemistry on and off the court. We are a family and we support each other no matter what,” said Phillips.
This sense of community also contributes to their success on the court. “We always push each other during practice, which allows us to be ready for our matches. The intensity everybody brings forces us to compete and get better every day,” said Merrifield.
The streak was ended in a Tigers vs. Tigers match when the team played Trinity University. The team fought hard through five games, finishing the match 2 to 3. An end to their streak will not stop these Tigers. They recovered after their loss to win against Texas Lutheran University, making their record 18-1.
This record-breaking start is only the beginning.
“At the start to each season, we sit down as a team and decide on important goals,” said Merrifield. “As a team, we have made goals to be SCAC Conference champions, Regional Champions, and then NCAA champions. We also always strive to hold our teammates and ourselves accountable while being positive and loving the game. We know that if we support and love each other as teammates and always play at our level, then we will be hard to beat.”
After such an amazing opening, these goals seem within reach for this talented young team.