AU reclaims Patriot League Championship with straight set victory over Colgate
The AU volleyball team (29-2) battled to a Patriot League Championship this weekend, after defeating Bucknell, 3-0 in the semifinal round and Colgate University 3-0 in the final.
AU defeated Colgate 25-17, 25-19 and 25-21.
After relinquishing its streak of eight straight Patriot League titles to Army last year, AU took back its spot at the top of the league with a dominating win over Colgate.
“It feels wonderful to win, especially [since] we didn’t win last year,” senior Magdalena Tekiel said. “The emotions are a lot stronger because we won this year and we got back our trophy.”
In the semifinal game against Bucknell, AU relied on a dominating performance from Angelina Waterman, vaulting herself back to the top of the Eagles offense with 14 kills. Tekiel contributed to the attack, serving up three aces in the game.
AU’s defense was solid throughout the game with Deborah Frantz and Waterman pulling up nine digs each. The team had eight total blocks in the game.
Freshman Juliana Crum sparked the offense in the third set, when AU struggled to put away the Bison. Crum’s five kills were timely in lifting the Eagles past Bucknell.
In the final, the Eagles took on third-seeded Colgate and started strong early. Coach Barry Goldberg used a different lineup in the second game, playing sophomores Krysta Cicala for junior Alexandra Hammer and Bianca Richardson for freshman Virginia Fitch.
“We gave Bianca some rest and we knew that she would come back hungry today and she did,” Goldberg said.
The Eagles got off to an early 12-5 lead in the first set, reaching a 25-17 final behind a strong attack from Tekiel and Waterman.
The second set was more of a struggle for the Eagles, going back and forth with the Raiders until finally separating themselves with an 18-15 lead and capitalizing on the late advantage. AU managed to squeeze by a tough Colgate attack with a 25-19 victory. With a new service order for the second set, Goldberg was looking to get an advantage at the net against Colgate’s strong defenders.
Falling behind early in the third set, 4-1, AU needed to come back strong, and did just that, squeezing just past Colgate, 6-5. The teams continued to go back and forth until AU got within five points of the win. With victory in sight, the Eagles’ momentum lifted the team to the end of the game, winning 25-21.
“We played really well defensively,” Goldberg said. “I think Deborah Frantz is the unsung hero for us. She seemed to control the back row really well for us.”
Tekiel led the team with 13 kills and a .404 hitting percentage, with Waterman not far behind, blasting 10 kills past the Colgate defense and hitting .389.
“We went into the game really wanting to play steady,” Katerina Cinkova said. “No matter through the ups and downs. We were both fighting hard for the same thing. We overcame what they were pushing back at us.”
Cinkova, Waterman and Tekiel were named to the all-tournament team, along with two other players from Colgate and one each from Army and Bucknell. Waterman was named MVP of the tournament.
“It feels really good to be recognized for all the work that I did this weekend,” Waterman said. “It’s a really great experience. I’m really happy — surprised and happy.”
With the win, the Eagles have now tied the 1994 team’s record 23-straight victories. AU will now wait for the volleyball NCAA selection show next Sunday to find out its matchup in the NCAA tournament.