MEDFORD, Mass. – The Mules closed out their season Saturday with a tri-match against #14 Tufts University and Hunter College. Colby's match against Tufts was also the final conference contest of the season.
The Mules stayed with the Jumbos early in the first set on kills from Nicole Petherbridge and Natalie Bumpus (pictured). Tufts, the only NESCAC team still undefeated in conference play, slowly crept ahead, however. Colby was able to keep the game close, using scrappy defense to generate second chances and force Jumbo errors, but ultimately Tufts took the first set 25-16.
The Jumbos jumped to early leads in the second and third sets to secure the match. The Mules clawed their way back in the third set with several blocks and kills, but could not come all the way back and fell 25-15. The Mules play was not without standout performances. Petherbridge finished the match with a team high 10 kills and a .200 kill percentage, while Elizabeth Middlebrook led the team with eight digs.
Colby looked to bounce back against the Hunter Hawks in their final match of the season. The Hawks were the top team in the CUNY Conference this year with a 7-0 record.
A close match unfolded as the two teams traded back and fourth sets. In the full-length games, play was gritty and defensive. Neither team was able to gain a lead of more than six points and the score was usually even closer. Hunter took the first and third set, while the resilient Mules bounced back each time to even the match score.
The drama set up a shortened fifth set. After Colby took the first point, Hunter went on its longest run of the game, rattling off the next eight points to take a seven point lead. The Mules could not climb out of the deficit and fell 15-8, dropping the match 3-2.
Petherbridge (pictured) finished her career with another stellar game, notching a career high 17 kills. She will pass the torch to first years Natalie Bumpus and Samantha Schultz, who recorded 15 and 6 kills, respectively. Elizabeth Middlebrook added 11 kills and led a strong defensive effort with 20 digs, while first years Morgan Selby recorded 46 assists at setter.
Colby graduates Nicole Petherbridge and Katie Devine, but brings back an exciting group of young players that gained chemistry and composure as the season progressed. Look for them to continue to climb in the NESCAC when they return next fall.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Conti