WATERVILLE, Maine – Colby volleyball hosted Connecticut College and Maine Maritime for back-to-back games over homecoming weekend. The Mules were coming off of a loss the previous night against nationally ranked Wesleyan, but played inspired volleyball for a set that foreshadowed Saturday's conference event.
First up against Colby was Connecticut College. The match carried extra weight for both teams, as one would come away with their first conference victory of the season. The match proved to be back and forth from the start. The Camels were able to sustain a small lead for the majority of the first set, and although the Mules brought the score as close as 22-20, they were unable to close the gap and dropped the game 25-23. Colby looked to bounce back in the second. After trading points early, the Mules jumped to a 15-10 lead. The Camels clawed their way back, though, tying the game at 17 before taking a 19-17 lead. The Mules stormed back, though, tying the game at 20. The two teams traded blows and the tension grew, and the game was not decided until Connecticut College took it 31-29.
Down 2-0, the Mules proved to have a lot left in them. Although the Camels led 9-6 early and 18-13 late in the third set, Colby went on a run to come within two points at 20-18. From there, the Mules won seven of the next nine points for a come from behind third set win that gave the team momentum as it entered the late stages of the match. The two teams picked up where they had left off in the fourth set with more back and fourth play. With the game tied at 14, though, Colby scored four straight points to take an 18-14 lead that it would not relinquish. Although Connecticut came back to within two points, the Mules tied the match at two games apiece with a 25-22 win.
With Wadsworth Gymnasium rocking after the excitement of a two-set comeback, the Mules kept the pressure on in the abridged fifth game. It became imperative to get ahead early due to the even play and the Mules came through, making a run to take a 6-3 lead. Although the Camels nearly tied it at 7-6, the Mules closed the game out with a bang, winning eight of the next nine points to take their first conference win of the season.
Head Coach Candice Parent recognized the win as the culmination of a team effort, adding, "I'm so proud of how our team never wavered in their confidence, even after losing the first two sets. In each set a different person stepped up and made a huge impact! The offense of balance that we had is what I've been waiting for all season!"
Indeed, the Mules got contributions up and down their roster, with four players totaling over 10 kills. Natalie Bumpus led the team with 15, while Nicole Petherbridge (pictured) notched an efficient .444 kill percentage. Morgan Selby provided tireless support at setter, collecting 46 assists, while Elizabeth Middlebrook led a strong team defensive effort with 17 digs.
An inspired but tired Colby team immediately took the court again to face Maine Maritime Academy. The Mariners were coming off three straight wins and kept their momentum rolling against the Mules, winning in three sets 25-17, 25-19, 25-15. Natalie Simonton had three kills for Coby, but the team could not generate consistent offense during the loss.
The Mules next play on Friday, October 11th at Williams College at 8:00 PM (EST).