Written by Daniel Krueger
This past weekend, the Colorado College women’s volleyball team took a trip to Kerrville, T.X. to take on four SCAC cross-divisional opponents. The weekend featured two marque match ups against the No. 4 Southwestern University Pirates and the No. 18 Trinity University Tigers, along with games against Texas Lutheran University and Schreiner University.
The Tigers, led by Head Coach Rick Swan, opened the weekend on Saturday against Schreiner University, the tournament’s host. Though the Tigers were pushed by the Mountaineers in the first set 26-24, they were able to pull away and win in straight sets. The Tigers’ hitting was dominant, posting a .346 average with 47 kills in 107 attempts. CC, led by senior outside hitter Abbe Holtze’s contribution of 13 kills, was off to a tremendous start in Kerrville.
Later that day, CC faced No. 18 Trinity University, the same team that upset the Tigers in the 2015 SCAC tournament semi-final and once earlier this year. Despite their best efforts, the CC Tigers lost to the Tigers of Trinity University, 2-3 (30-28, 25-22, 20-25, 16-25, 12-15). In the loss, Holtze paced the Tigers with 20 kills and a season-high 20 digs.
“I think we got a little lackadaisical after we won the first two sets. We lacked energy in the third set and Trinity was able to ride the momentum they generated from that set to victory,” said sophomore middle hitter Myca Steffey-Bean, who finished the game with nine kills.
The Tigers refused to stay down on Sunday. They finished the regular season of SCAC play with victories over both Southwestern and Texas Lutheran. First on the docket was a Texas Lutheran team led by senior outside hitter Kristin Fording. The Tigers were able to keep Fording at bay throughout the matchup and she finished the game with only eight kills. The Tigers won the match 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-16).
CC headed into the match against Southwestern bursting with confidence, but they also knew a win against Southwestern was going to be a tall task.
“Southwestern’s offense is always on. Their depth propels the offense,” said Steffey-Bean.
The Tigers were forced to demonstrate depth of their own when starting setter Lizzy Counts went down with an ankle injury in the first set. Counts was last week’s AVCA National Player of the Week and has been an integral part of the Tiger offense all season. Though this was a huge loss for the Tigers, senior setter Rebecca Watson entered the game and played fundamentally sound volleyball.
“Watts was key for us off the bench,” said Steffey-Bean who finished the game with a season-high 12 kills. The Tigers managed to win both the first and second set (25-20, 25-22), but then dropped both the third and fourth sets (22-25, 22-25). The Tigers were forced to a 5th set for only the third time all season.
“Heading into last set we had the mentality that every point was game point. We decided to put everything out there, swing away at every ball,” said Steffey-Bean. But the Tigers found themselves down 7-8 at the switch.
CC used a kill by Reagan Folaron and an ace by Holtze to take a 14-11 advantage and then, after a Southwestern kill made it 14-12, first-year middle hitter Marguerite Spaethiling finished off the game with a resounding kill of her own. The final was a 3-2 win for the Tigers who remained ranked No. 6 nationally in the most recent AVCA Coaches Ranking.
CC wraps up the season tonight against Johnson & Wales University at 6 p.m. at Reid Arena before they travel to Shreveport, La. for the SCAC conference tournament.