Volleyball goes 2-1 on week after close loss to Georgetown

AU volleyball dominated two Patriot Leage opponents over the weekend, only to fall to hometown rival Georgetown in five games last night.

Despite not playing what coach Barry Goldberg said was his team's sharpest volleyball, the Eagles managed to remain unbeaten (5-0) in the Patriot League and extend their PL win streak to an astounding 53 matches.

The Hoyas ended a seven-game winning streak for the Eagles with a 3-2 win. Despite 19 kills slammed down by junior Curtrina Buddulph, AU could not take Game 5 losing 15-9.

On Friday in front of an excited home crowd in Colgate, Goldberg was happy to see his team control the flow of the match.

"Colgate is a very reasonable team," he said. "But we controlled the ball, and whenever we're controlling the ball we're ready to play with good teams."

Solid ball control set up the Eagles' attack, which has been the class of the PL for four years now. With a .311 hitting percentage, the Eagles just edged Colgate 33-31. Defense was an issue for the Eagles as Colgate hammered home 19 kills.

On the season, AU is hitting the ball almost 100 percentage points better than its opponents, which proved to be the difference in the game.

But in Game 2, Colgate rallied off the momentum of its fan base and Game 1 success and handed the Eagles their first game loss in five matches, 30-21. That game win was the first for Colgate in four seasons against the Eagles.

Sophomore hitter Liz Maloney, last week's PL player of the week, said the team rebounded strongly after the loss.

"It wasn't exactly what we wanted - we wanted to sweep them," she said.

Unable to sweep Colgate, the Eagles did the next best thing by dominating the final two games. Sophomore Cutrina Biddulph continued to star with a career-high 20 kills in the match. Her firepower, combined with the skills of senior Erin Algaier, Maloney and freshman Chelsa Brooks, was too much for Colgate to effectively digest.

Hitting .366 and .396 in games 3 and 4 respectively, the Eagles came home strong with 30-19 and 30-14 victories to take the match.

Goldberg said his team is extremely dangerous when the attack is as good as it was in those last two games.

"Our attacking has been the money for this team," he said. "It is a key element to our success."

Brooks, the PL rookie of the week, tallied a career-high 18 kills with just two errors. And, as has been the case all season, senior setter Courtney Mulford led the team in assists with 54. Senior libero Sabrina Vasconcelos led the team with 15 digs.

Similar to the match against Colgate, the Eagles started off a bit slow against Bucknell before finishing with another PL, road victory.

The Eagles won a close Game 1, 30-28, and dropped Game 2, 30-26. Unable to match the attacking success from the night before, the Eagles hit a season low, 213. Fortunately, it was enough to carry them.

Biddulph matched her career-high total of 20 kills and was again the dominating presence in the victory.

"When she's good, she's amazing," Goldberg said.

After their Game 2 success, Bucknell simply could not hang with the Eagles. AU took games 3 and 4, 30-24 and 30-25. Goldberg said it was nice to see other players step up after a couple shaky games.

"Different players were there at different times," he said. "We need to have five or six players playing well - we can't just have a few."

The Eagles will hit the halfway point in PL play this weekend as they travel to the Lehigh valley for matches against Lehigh and Lafayette. Goldberg said the team needs to continue to focus on the PL, because the only way it will be able to make an impact on the national level is to win the league.

"We just have to get everybody together and we'll be there," he said.

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