WATERVILLE, Maine – The Connecticut College volleyball team was dealt a heartbreaking 3-2 loss by Colby on Saturday afternoon at Wadsworth Gymnasium. After the Camels won the first two sets in thrilling fashion by 25-23 and 31-29 decisions, the Mules rallied to capture the next three by scores of 25-23, 25-22, and 15-7.
Connecticut College burst out to a 13-7 advantage in the opening set, as sophomore Emma Roberts (Port Washington, N.Y.) provided three service aces and junior Katie Howley (Scituate, Mass.) added four kills. The Mules were able to slash the deficit down to one on three occasions, but the Camels held their ground and were able to clinch the frame on a bad set by Julia Hutchings.
The visitors needed to stage a rally to eventually triumph in the second set and go ahead by a 2-0 score. After falling behind by a 17-11 decision on a kill by Samantha Schultz, the Camels stormed back by registering eight straight points. Senior Grace McGee (Portland, Ore.) found freshman Annie Wibbelsman (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) twice on back-to-back plays to break a tie and put the team ahead. Colby recovered and held leads of 23-20 and 24-22 with the opportunity to even the score with a set point, but Howley and sophomore Avery Light (Sudbury, Mass.) punched in back-to-back kills to keep the Camels alive. After the team survived another set point with their backs against the wall, Howley put away a pass from junior Elle Kass (Los Gatos, Calif.) to end the marathon set.
The Camels appeared to be destined to sweep away the Mules on their home floor by building up an 18-13 advantage in the third set on another ace by Roberts. However, the Mules ended the frame on a 12-7 run to stay alive. Schultz registered a kill to break a 23-23 tie and give the hosts their first lead since it was 6-4 and then put away another pass from Morgan Selby to give the Mules a two-point set victory of their own.
The fourth frame was also close and featured seven ties to go along with six lead changes. However, it was the Mules that embarked on a 5-0 run that began on a Camel service error to take am 18-14 lead and move ahead for good. Even though the visitors came within two on a Howley smash, the Mules were able to recover and get the three-point win to tie things up at two sets apiece. Colby then used that wave of momentum to easily take the fifth set by eight points, which was capped by a double block by Natalie Bumpus and Nicole Petherbridge.
Colby (5-11, NESCAC 1-4) got double-double efforts from Elizabeth Middlebrook and Selby. Middlebrook finished the match with 13 kills and 17 digs, while Selby had 46 assists and 14 digs. Bumpus added 15 kills and four blocks.
Howley and McGee paced Connecticut College in the setback with double-doubles of their own. Howley had a match-high 23 kills to go along with 12 digs, and McGee dished out 45 assists and dug up 11 balls. Light and Kass finished with 14 kills and 19 digs, respectively, and Roberts contributed seven aces.
Connecticut College (6-8, NESCAC 0-5) will continue a stretch of playing NESCAC opponents on the road when it next visits Amherst on Friday evening at 7 p.m.