Oct. 12, 2012
HAMILTON, N.Y. - Allowing small runs early and late in each set cost the Navy volleyball team in losing a close three-set match to first-place Colgate Friday night at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y. The Raiders (8-11, 6-0 Patriot League) edged the Mids (7-11, 3-3), 25-20, 26-24, 25-21.
"This is a head scratcher for us," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "We had a very imprecise match tonight on the heels of having a very precise week of practice. Tonight was a grind. We did not have our `A' game, and I don't think Colgate did either."
Colgate took an early 7-3 lead over Navy and maintained slim cushions including 14-11 and 19-16. The Mids were able to trim the margin down to one point at 20-19, but three consecutive kills by the Raiders gave them a 23-19 lead. A Navy attack error took Colgate to set point with a 24-19 advantage. The Mids staved off the first set point against them with a kill by Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.), but Colgate converted its second opportunity with a kill to claim the opening set.
The Raiders built leads of 12-5 and 15-11 in the second set before a 3-0 Navy run gave the Mids a 19-18 advantage. Colgate responded with a block and a kill to regain the lead at 20-19. The score would be tied at 20-20, 22-22 and 23-23 when Michelle McCarthy posted a kill for the Raiders to give them a 24-23 lead. Carolyn Ewert (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif.) dropped in a kill of her own to tie the frame at 24-24. Colgate's Lindsay Young first broke the tie with a kill, then teamed with Liz Karnes for a block on Alex Cassel (So., Sandy, Utah) to give the Raiders the second set.
Strong play at the start of the set once again gave the Raiders an early lead in set number three. Colgate jumped out to an 8-2 cushion and held that comfortable advantage as it soon took a 15-9 lead. Navy responded by first closing to within one point of Colgate at 15-14 before going on a 5-0 run to take a 19-17 lead.
The Raiders regained the lead with a 3-0 run of their own, only to see a Fortner kill tie the frame at 20-20. Colgate would separate itself from Navy with a kill, a Navy attack error and back-to-back blocks by the Raiders that gave them a 24-20 lead. A Colgate attack error made the score 24-21, but a Diane Seely kill for Colgate closed out the match.
"It was gratifying to see us battle as we did," said Bock. "There was no let up at all tonight. It came down to a couple of little runs in each set."
Navy totaled more kills than Colgate did on the night, 41-36, and both teams tallied a .114 attack percentage. However, the Mids recorded just one service ace and committed 10 service errors while the Raiders tallied four aces against just one error. Colgate also held narrow advantages over Navy in both blocks (9-6) and digs (57-52).
"Most of our service errors were aggressive ones," said Bock. "We put a couple of them into the net, but I can live with most of the errors.
"Colgate is a real fine team. We played them tough, so we can take some positives from that. But the bottom line is that if we hold a team to a .114 hitting percentage, we need to win the match."
The bulk of Navy's offense came on the wings as Ewert knocked down a Navy-best 12 kills -- to go along with an equal number of digs -- and Fortner finished the match with 10 kills of her own. J.B. Loomis (So., Havertown, Pa.) would snare a team-high 14 digs for the Mids.
McCarthy's 12 kills led the Colgate offense.
Navy will remain on the road Saturday as the Mids will play at Bucknell in a 5 p.m. match in Lewisburg, Pa. Links to live statistics from the match can be found at NavySports.com.