Nov. 8, 2013
HAMILTON, N.Y. -- The Navy volleyball team couldn't carry some of its best play of the season through all five sets as the Mids dropped a 23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-11 decision to first-place Colgate Friday night at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y. The Raiders are now 12-1 in Patriot League play this season after winning the 2012 league regular season and tournament titles, while the Mids remained in fifth place in the league standings with an 8-5 record.
"We played awesome over the first two sets, especially on the road, in a gym with a large home crowd and against the defending league champions who are in first place again this year," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "We played so darn well. It was great to be able to do that, but now we have to find a way to get that third set win on the road. And we are running out of time to do that this year."
The score in the first set was tied a total of nine times, including at 22-22. A Colgate service error gave the Mids a 23-22 lead, which became 24-22 on a kill by McKenzie Bailey (Fr., Dublin, Ohio). Colgate's Kaylee Fifer knocked down a kill to slice the lead in half, but an attack error by teammate Allie Dyer gave Navy the first set.
Navy trailed Colgate 23-21 late in the second set before a 4-0 run by the Mids gave them a 2-0 advantage in sets. Katie Sylakowski (So., Escondido, Calif.) started the Navy run with a kill, then a Fifer attack error tied the frame at 23-23. Olivia Yeager (So., Lutz, Fla.) knocked down a kill for Navy to take the Mids to set point, which they converted on a hitting error by Colgate's Kate Reilly.
Colgate quickly took control of the second set by jumping out to leads of 4-0, 6-1 and 7-3, and held an advantage of at least three points over the rest of the set.
The fourth set was nearly as close as sets one and two were. The score would be tied eight times and the lead would change hands six times. The teams were knotted at 14 points apiece when a 3-0 run by Colgate gave it a little cushion over the Mids. Back-to-back points by Navy made the score 17-16 in favor of the Raiders, which soon became 19-16 in favor of the home team. Navy was able to shave the deficit down to two points at 19-17, but that was followed by another 3-0 run by the Raiders as forced a fifth set.
The fifth and final set was tied at 7-7 when a 4-0 run by Colgate boosted it out to an 11-7 lead. Navy winnowed the margin down to one point at 11-10, but that 3-0 run was followed by consecutive Colgate points to make the score 13-10. After a Navy point made it a two-point set, Colgate tallied back-to-back points to close out the set and the match.
"It became a very `high middle' match as it went on," said Bock. "That slight change was just enough of a difference for us. We didn't pass, or block or hit as well as we did in the first two sets as we did in the last three. That's on me to make those adjustments quicker."
Navy hit .247 in the first two sets, but just .021 over the last three sets. Conversely, Colgate improved its hitting from .172 over sets one and two to .206 over the last three sets. For the match, Colgate held a .189-.113 advantage in hitting percentage. The Raiders also totaled seven aces, 84 digs and 15.5 blocks to Navy's three aces, 79 digs and 11.0 blocks.
Erin Fortner (Sr., Villa Hills, Ky.) led Navy with 13 kills while also adding 14 digs and a pair of blocks. Joining her in double figures for kills were Yeager and Sylakowski with 10 apiece. Sylakowski also added four blocks, while Alex Karika (So., Cranberry Township, Pa.) recorded 40 assists, 15 digs and five blocks. Leading all Navy passers was Alli Graf (Fr., Annapolis, Md.) with 26 digs.
Colgate's Diane Seeley posted 23 kills.
Navy will close out its Patriot League season with matches Wednesday at American, Nov. 15 at home against Army and Nov. 16 at home against Holy Cross.