The volleyball team suffered its fourth NESCAC loss of the season to Colby on Friday, Oct. 11. The match, which Colby took by a score of 3-2 (25-16, 25-27, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12), snapped a four-game winning streak for the Cardinals, including two big NESCAC wins from the previous weekend. Wesleyan’s NESCAC record now stands at 2-4, with an overall record of 6-10.
This outcome was unexpected and possibly troubling for the Cardinals, especially considering the previous weekend’s events. Colby went into Friday’s match with a NESCAC record of 1-4 and should have been easier to handle than Middlebury, a team that was undefeated until losing 3-1 to the Cardinals on Friday, Oct. 4. Captain Kim Farris ’14 certainly didn’t see Friday’s loss coming.
“The loss to Colby was really upsetting because we had been playing so well the previous weeks,” Farris said.
Farris, usually the team’s go-to hitter and leader in kills, struggled to perform in typical fashion, landing only 13 kills against eight errors over the course of the five sets. Fellow captains Kate Centofanti ’14 and Monica Leslie ’14 did their best to fill the scoring vacuum. Centofanti had 19 kills, and Leslie posted a remarkably high .515 kill percentage en route to 17 kills of her own.
Rachel Savage ’17, who has held the defense together through the season thus far, also failed to meet her standards, recording just 14 digs. Instead, defensive efforts were led by Brittany Lo ’15 and Centofanti with 16 digs apiece.
Despite below-average production from these key contributors, the Cardinals managed to keep up with Colby, going back and forth through the first four sets and forcing a decisive fifth. The Cardinals actually led the fifth set at one point by a score of 11-8. However, in the ensuing points, calls on a series of spikes that landed close to the boundary lines seemed to continually fall in Colby’s favor. Farris, for one, didn’t buy these calls.
“The refs weren’t consistent in calling the match,” Farris said. “The few bad calls that they made in the fifth set took the momentum away from us and led to Colby’s final run, which was really unfortunate.”
With an 11-8 lead, the Cardinals needed only four more points to close the door but were unable to do so. Colby won seven of the final eight points to secure a victory. It was a disappointing and frustrating loss for Wesleyan, during which several different things seemed to go wrong.
Not that these Cardinals are the type of team to dwell on that for too long. After all, they have a Maine road trip looming next weekend against a pair of NESCAC foes.
“We are expecting to do very well against Bowdoin and Bates,” Farris said.
Bowdoin in particular poses a difficult challenge; the team has found success so far, getting off to a 5-1 start in its NESCAC record. But the Cardinals have faced this sort of adversity before and are confident that they can win these coming matches and bounce back.
“Just because Bowdoin has a 5-1 NESCAC record doesn’t mean that we aren’t expecting to win,” Farris said. “Middlebury was undefeated, and we beat them.”