A strong win in the first game of the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship tournament was not enough to keep seventh-seeded Colorado College volleyball team alive, as they fell in the regional semi-final to end their season with a 30-9 overall record.
The Tigers traveled to California Lutheran University on Nov. 14 and 15 to compete in the tournament. This was the team’s 17th consecutive NCAA championship appearance.
The Tigers upset second seeded Pacific Lutheran University in their first game 3-1 (25-18 27-25 25-23 25-19). The upset marked the fifth time in the last six seasons that CC has hit the 30-win mark.
“We came out extremely strong,” said junior captain Sophie Merrifield. “It was a competitive match and they are a talented team, but we prepared very well for their tendencies.”
The following day, for the second year in a row, Colorado College and third seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps met in a regional semifinal. But unlike last year, the Tigers were not the team to move on. The final game was a battle to the last set, where the Tigers fell 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13).
“We came out nervous and had trouble finding a rhythm,” said Merrifield. “We battled 100 percent but fell short by two points,” she continued, “and losing by two points is really disappointing because we outscored them 108-106 overall.”
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps beat Trinity in the regional final to advance to the next round.
“Although our team did not perform as well as we had hoped to, we were still very proud of our performance,” said junior outside hitter Abbe Holtze. “Our team faced a lot of adversity this year, so to make it as far as we did is an accomplishment in itself.”
Holtze also has some impressive accomplishments of her own. She was named SCAC Conference Player of the Year, SCAC First Team, Western Region First Team, and All-American Honorable Mention.
Holtze said that it was an honor to receive these awards, but she couldn’t have done it without the support of her team and coaches. “They were able to push me to get better everyday in practice and encourage me to perform my best on the court.”
Despite the recent wrap up of this season, the Tigers already have their sights set on next year. Merrifield said that the team is only losing two seniors, so there will be a lot of returning talent. “We defiantly have high expectations,” said Holtze, “and we are ready to do what it takes to achieve these goals.”