GORHAM, Maine – The Colby Volleyball team swept their weekend tri-match at the University of Southern Maine with Rhode Island College and USM. The team, which had won two of its last three games coming into the match, won both games, 3-1, and now carries a three-game win streak as it moves into the last week of the season. The Mules next play Maine Maritime Academy on Tuesday, October 29th.
After closing out their time in Wadsworth Gymnasium on Friday with a conference win over Trinity, the Mules looked to keep their momentum in the first game of the weekend. Colby began with Rhode Island College but struggled out of the gate, dropping five of the first six points in the opening set. The team rebounded, however, tying play at 11 before taking the lead. Although RIC came back to tie the game at 16-16, Colby used a late run to secure the first set 25-21.
RIC used a similar early run to jump out to a lead in the second set. This time, though, the Anchorwomen closed the door. Colby came back to tie the game at seven points apiece, and the scored stayed locked until ten, but RIC kept up relentless pressure to eventually win the set 25-21.
Colby bounced back quickly, though, storming to their own early lead in the third and fourth sets. The Mules never trailed in the third and only trailed once at 5-3 in the fourth. Colby played efficient offense in both sets, recording a match-high kill percentage of 0.385 in the third before following the effort up with a 0.321 team percentage in the fourth. The surge led to 25-15 and 25-14 set wins for the Mules to help them secure the first match of their day, 3-1.
Nicole Petherbridge (pictured) and Elizabeth Middlebrook continued to click on offense, generating 15 and 11 kills, respectively, while Natalie Simonton played an impressively efficient game, finishing with five kills and no errors on eight attempts. Petherbridge also recorded six service aces to lead all players. First-year setter Morgan Selby continued her reliable play at setter, earning 35 assists.
The Mules stayed on court to play USM, who had also defeated RIC earlier in the day. Colby carried its momentum into the first game, earning a .237 kill percentage on attack and holding Southern Maine to a 0.049 kill percentage with strong defense. The Mules never trailed in game one, ultimately earning a 25-16 victory to take the early match lead.
The games became closer as the match progressed. Colby's offensive production and efficiency dropped in game two while USM's rose. The Mules overcame an early deficit, however, using gritty play and strong defense to extend points and force the Huskies into errors. With the game tied at 17-17, Colby surged to the finish to win game two 25-20.
The Mules did finally slip in game three. The team could not weather an early USM run and with the Huskies playing their best volleyball of the match, Colby dropped the game 25-17.
The lapse was only momentary, however. The Mules raced to an early lead, winning 11 of the first 15 points of game four. Their attack proved relentless and the team soon held a 20-7 lead on a run that included three service aces in a row by Samantha Schultz. The effort put the game out of reach and Colby secured a dominant 25-11 victory to take a 3-1 match win.
Schultz (pictured) proved the catalyst for the Mules offense in their second match. The first-year hitter recorded six kills and only one error on 17 attempts, as well as seven service aces, to lead Colby's hitters in kill percentage and total points. Simone Sears also stepped up, leading the team with eight kills and earning a 0.286 kill percentage. Morgan Selby played a balanced game, recording 16 assists and 16 digs to anchor the Mules' play.
The team now enters the final week of their regular season, starting with a game at Maine Maritime on Tuesday, October 29th at 7:00 PM (EST).
Photo courtesy of Ashley Conti