WATERVILLE, Maine – On an emotional night in Wadsworth Gymnasium, Colby volleyball took home their second conference win of the year in a battle with the Trinity Bantams. The game was the Mules' last home contest of the season, marking the final time the team would take the court under the Wadsworth roof. Next fall, Colby will begin its next chapter in the school's brand new athletic center. It was also senior night for the Mules, who recognized captain Nicole Petherbridge (pictured) and Katie Devine before play began.
Once it did, the two teams quickly became locked in a close contest. Both squads stood their ground in the early minutes and the first game saw seven ties by the time the score stood at 11-11. However, Trinity found a new level and the game suddenly slipped from Colby's control. The Bantams scored the next 10 points to all but wrap up the first set, and won game one 25-16.
The Mules have shown resilience all season, though, and used the early deficit to ignite their attack, jumping to an early 7-2 lead in the second. The team stepped up their defense, too, holding Trinity to a team kill percentage of -.048 in the second game. Although the Bantams pulled to within one point of the Mules twice within the set, Colby never relinquished its lead and took game two 25-20, evening the contest at 1-1.
Trinity proved a tough team to dispatch. Colby continued to build momentum on offense, generating a team kill percentage of .208 behind early efforts from Samantha Schultz and Elizabeth Middlebrook, but Trinity still managed to hold the advantage for much of the third game. With the game tied at 19 points, though, the Mules took over, winning six of the next seven to take a 2-1 set advantage.
Both teams dug deep for a scrappy fourth game. Trinity was limited to a .095 team kill percentage, while Colby was held to an even lower 0.019. A loud student section grew in intensity as the tension of the match mounted, and after coming back from an early Trinity lead, Colby blew past the Bantams to earn a 21-16 advantage late. Trinity would not go quietly, though. The Bantams stormed back, tying the game at 22-22, and again at 24 points apiece before Colby used some timely hitting by Nicole Petherbridge and Elizabeth Middlebrook to seal the game, 26-24, and the match, 3-1.
Middlebrook (pictured) not only helped close out the match, but catalyzed the Mules' offense all night. The junior led all players with 17 kills in the match, setting a new career high, and led Colby in kill percentage at 0.235. She played a pivotal role defensively, as well, leading Colby with 18 digs. Nicole Petherbridge had a big night as well, earning 12 kills and 12 digs, while first year setter Morgan Selby organized a diverse offense, spreading her 36 assists to five different hitters.
The Mules, winners of two of their last three games, look to carry their momentum into their next contests, both of which are at the University of Southern Maine tomorrow, Saturday, October 26th. The team plays their first game of the tri-match at 2:00 pm (EST) against Rhode Island College before taking on host USM at 4:00 pm (EST).
Photos courtesy of Calvin Wetmore '20 and Alec Chapman'21