Last weekend, the volleyball team traveled to Shreveport, La. for the SCAC divisional crossover. They played four matches, coming away with three wins and one loss.
The team started off with a Tigers against Tigers match-up against Trinity University. Colorado College lost the first set 22-25 but came back strong and won the second set 25-15. Trinity won the third set 25-21. In the fourth set, CC won 25-20. With the game tied, it all came down to the fifth set.
Trinity saw match point leading 14-12, but kills by sophomores outside hitter Abbe Holtze and middle hitter Keli Sherwood put the Tigers back in the game. A ball handling error by Trinity and another kill by Sherwood secured the set and the match, 3-2.
“The match against Trinity was a huge demonstration of the capabilities of our squad,” said senior defensive specialist Julia Lawton. “The match was a true team effort, with contribution from every player.”
Lawton explained, “We proved to ourselves the importance of resilience, coming from behind 14-12 in game 5. And especially with the rivalry between us, proving to ourselves that we could beat them was a huge step for our confidence. Winning was a nice taste of redemption after two losses to them last year”.
Unfortunately, CC did not fare as well in their second match of the day. CC lost to Southwestern University 0-3. Southwestern held CC to their lowest hitting percentage of the season with scores of 21-25, 13-25, and 15-25. This is the first time this season that CC has been swept. The positive note of the game was the return of junior outside hitter Emily Phillips after a 10-game absence due to an injury. Phillips led against Southwestern with a team-high nine kills.
“Coming back from an injury is always a little frustrating, but it’s just part of playing a sport,” said Phillips. “My teammates were all so supportive, which made the transition a lot easier. I really enjoyed being back on the court playing against some of our biggest rivalries. I am happy to be back.”
The Tigers did not let the loss to Southwestern throw them. The next day, they rallied with back to back sweeps against Texas Lutheran University and Schreiner University.
CC beat Texas Lutheran, 25-14, 26-24, and 25-15. Sherwood and Holtze both got nine kills each. Freshman middle hitter Glenna Yancey made a career-high eight kills. Texas Lutheran fought back hard in the second set, tying it up at 24-24, but an attack error by Texas Lutheran and combination for a block by Yancey and senior middle hitter Kristen Liberty earned the win. In the final set, Lawton was the first on the board with an ace and CC never gave up that lead.
“I’m most proud of our performance against Texas Lutheran University,” said sophomore setter Rebecca Watson. “The win over Trinity was great but we stayed much more consistent against TLU. Even with our lineup change for the TLU game, we remained focused and kept our errors to a minimum.”
CC increased the momentum going into their next match, beating Schreiner 25-9, 25-16, 25-23. CC’s serving was strong throughout the match resulting in 10 aces. Lawton got five service aces, Phillips made eight kills, and Watson led the team with 22 assists. Junior defensive specialist Sophie Merrifield led the defense with 13 digs.
“The wins over the weekend and the loss on Saturday was really a tale of two teams,” said Lawton. “We seemed to be firing on all cylinders in the match against Trinity, but then struggled to maintain our focus and resilience in the match against Southwestern. We beat ourselves. We committed way too many errors and could not maintain any momentum.”
Lawton revealed, “After the loss on Saturday, we met as a team to mentally refocus and prepare for Sunday’s matches. As a team, we had to let go of Saturday’s disappointment and regain our confidence. We went into Sunday’s matches solely focused on the tasks at hand and performed with more confident control over the match”.
CC will be hosting the Pikes Peak Challenge on October 3-4. The Tigers begin the tournament against the University of Wisconsin-Superior at 3 p.m. on Friday.