Tigers Fall in Third Round of NCAA Tournament

By Hayden Cogswell

The Colorado College women’s volleyball team closed out an impressive season by falling for the second year in a row to the No. 1 ranked team in the country, Emory University.

Photo by Alli Moon

“We knew going into the game that it was going to be a tough game and that we would have to play really well to have a shot at winning,” Haley Harris ’20 said. “But we were excited to give it our all.”

In the second round, not much changed for CC as they coasted to victory against Berry College the following day. Again, the Tigers won in straight sets with Counts putting up 25 assists and 12 digs. Marguerite Spaethling ’20 led the Tigers with 10 kills, while Georgia Mullins ’22 followed with seven kills and three blocked shots.

The Tigers made quick work of both their first and sec- ond round opponents. In the first match, CC knocked off Whitworth University in straight sets, allowing no more than 16 points in each set. Jordan Mullen ’20 put down a match-high 17 kills while Lizzy Counts ’20 put up an im- pressive 32 assists. The Tigers marched to victory with a season-tying low of only five offensive errors.

At this point, CC looked poised to have a strong performance in what promised to be an exciting clash with Emory.

CC’s seniors showed up for the tough matchup, and the team pushed Emory hard in its quest to advance. Mullen finished with 10 kills, Counts completed 30 assists, Anna Gurolnick ’20 led the defense with 19 total digs, and Harris finished with five aces.

After dropping the first set 25-20, CC pushed Emory all the way in the second set. Despite trailing 23-21 in the second, CC battled back to take a 27-26 advantage in the set. However, a block and an offensive error from the Ti- gers stopped the comeback as Emory took a commanding 2-0 lead.

“The first two sets were fun and once we were able to block their big hitters we had so many important blocks,” Harris said. “But our attitude in the third set changed slightly since we knew we’d be out if we didn’t win it.”

Emory carried its winning momentum from the previ- ous sets into the third and final set. Despite bringing the score to a close 23-21 once again, the Tigers dropped two final points to seal the result as Emory moved on to the next round. CC finished with an overall season record of 32-5, while the six seniors bowed out of their careers with an impressive combined 126-16 record.

Several of the seniors finished with top honors as Counts secured 4,170 assists over the course of her CC career, only the second player in program history to record a total above 4,000. Gurolnick’s 19 digs were enough to give her 1,885 career digs and a spot as third on the all-time list for the program.

“Anna Gurolnick had crazy digs that brought up the energy in the gym, and throughout the tournament, Jordan Mullen played so well,” Counts said. “Following the game, we were definitely feeling low that our season had ended on that note, but everyone was joking with each other and happy to have each other by the time we boarded the bus home.”

CC’s seniors made an impact on the team, but now look to transition into life at CC without their sport.

“The senior class is sad right now but really grateful for all the opportunities we have gotten through volleyball,” Counts said. “We are all really looking forward to spending time with the larger CC community.”

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