By Arielle Gordon
It wasn’t the dominating start to the season the Tigers were hoping for, but despite injuries and new line-ups, the Colorado College volleyball team finished the 2019 Colorado College Classic with an impressive 3–1 record.
The Tigers, who entered the season ranked No. 7 in the preseason coaches’ poll, won their matches against Millsaps College (3–0), Edgewood College (3–0), and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (3–1), but fell to eventual tournament champion Clarkson University (3–2).
“One of my favorite memories from this weekend was watching our two middle hitters [Georgia Mullins ’22 and Emma Hewlin ’21] tirelessly block and attack nonstop, as they played all games this weekend with no subs,” outside hitter Haley Harris ’20 said. “During the UW-Oshkosh match, Mullins had what seemed like six kills in a row and everyone was jumping, screaming and cheering. That was a definite game changer, and led us to win the match.”
None of these teams were Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents, so this weekend presented the Tigers with four new competition. The girls play non-conference opponents in their next two tournaments. Non-conference opponents are challenging, but the team welcomes the battles.
“We really enjoyed the opportunity to face some new competition, which will make us stronger and better for later in the season,” said outside hitter Isabella Vasquez ’22.
The Tigers were without middle hitter Marguerite Spaethling ’20 and defensive specialist Rachel Krutz ’21 for the entire weekend, which allowed several younger players to see more playing time. The Tigers were excited to receive contributions from across the lineup, as it reinforced their team-focused mentality.
“Our team motto for this season is ‘stronger together,’” Vasquez said. “We’re working to build chemistry on the court by building good relationships off the court. The focus looking forward to next weekend is reviewing where we made the most mistakes in the last tournament and pinpointing those areas in practice this week.”
In spirit of maintaining their team first perspective, many young players were able to take the positions of injured players without missing a beat, much to the excitement of their teammates.
“Our team has a lot of depth on it, and we have so many people who are able to step in and fill those holes,” outside hitter Allie Freeburg ’21 said.
For their efforts, Harris and Freeburg were named to the all-tournament team. Harris had 10 kills in the match against Millsaps and 11 against Edgewood. Freeburg had 22 kills in the four set match against Oshkosh — her career high — along with 10 kills against Millsaps and six more versus Edgewood.
“Being named to the all-tournament team was a surprise to me,” said Harris. “I thought all of my teammates had such a successful weekend. What gets me excited during matches is the kills from my teammates that knock the other team in the face, the blocks, and crazy digs.”
The Tigers are looking forward to being home for the rest of this block because, in addition to cheering each other on from the bench, the team enjoys playing in front of friends and family. It also gives them a bit of extra motivation when the crowd is loud, just as it was against Clarkson.
“It’ll be exciting going into next weekend just to continue to pull together as a team and play some people we’ve never played before and to get stronger as we go into conference play,” Freeburg said.
The Tigers will be home this Friday and Saturday Sept. 6–7 for the Spike It Up Classic in Reid Arena. They play at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, and 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday.