AU falls to Colgate in three hard-fought periods

Eagles stay competitive in first Patriot League matchup of the season

AU falls to Colgate in three hard-fought periods
AU volleyball's Helena Elbaek in a March 7 match against Bucknell.

The Colgate Raiders (6-7, 3-1 PL) swept the American University volleyball team (7-7, 1-1 PL) on Saturday night in the Eagles’ first Patriot League matchup of the season.

AU kept the game close, despite the end result, and the Eagles only lost by four points or less in all three sets.

The Eagles went into the match motivated, looking to defeat the team that knocked them out of the Patriot League tournament last year and got ranked ahead of them in the preseason team rankings poll. AU opened strong, taking an early lead, but the Raiders rallied right back to tie it up 9-9. AU never regained the lead in the first set, but the Eagles stayed competitive throughout the entire first set, despite Colgate still coming out on top, 21-25.

Starting the second set, the Eagles looked a little deflated. Despite this, they never let the score out of their sight, and throughout the second set, there were 12 tie scores in total and four lead changes

An energetic crowd, mostly composed of the AU swim & dive team, went back-and-forth with an unusually rowdy Colgate bench, exchanging chants, taunts and dances throughout the match. Despite the fan support, Colgate went up by 3 to take the second set, 22-25.

The Eagles looked to hold on as they were down 0-2 heading into the third set. Continuing the trend from the second set, the score remained tight for the majority of the period. Until midway through the period, no team went up by more than two points. Eventually, the Raiders went on a four-point run to go up by five and sealed the match. The Eagles tried to respond, coming within two points of Colgate’s lead, but the Raiders overpowered them and took the third and final set, 21-25.

Head coach Barry Goldberg said postgame that Colgate played “very well,” but said the Eagles hung with the Raiders. 

“It wasn’t like we were down by 10 or 12 at any time, we were down by three, two, three,” he said. “We were battling but we were always running behind.”

Goldberg said the result against Colgate was “fairly normal,” as the Raiders had already played four league games and this was AU’s first. 

“As we get to play each team, it’ll tell us a lot more as we get to the second phase [of the season] as to if we’re gonna be able to be a playoff team,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg said he expects AU to be able to regroup as they begin league play in the month and a half leading up to the Patriot League playoffs. “We’ll see [Colgate] again,” he said.

The Eagles will embark on a long road trip, facing six Patriot League foes, before returning to Bender Arena on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. ET to face Lehigh University.

apowers@theeagleonline.com

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