MIDDLETOWN, Conn. --- The Colby College volleyball team could have given up after falling down 2-0 in sets at Wesleyan University on Friday night, but the Mules battled back to win the final three sets in a thrilling 3-2 NESCAC victory.
Colby improves to 9-7 overall and 2-5 in league play after the 18-25, 21-25, 25-14, 25-13, 15-11 win. The Mules are now alone in eighth place (top 8 teams make NESCAC playoffs) ahead of Bates College (1-6), Hamilton College (1-6), and Wesleyan (0-8). Colby heads to Connecticut College (16-2 overall, 6-2 NESCAC) for a 2 p.m. match Saturday.
After the Mules took surprisingly easy 25-14 and 25-13 wins to set up a fifth set, Wesleyan seemed to get it together and took a quick 5-2 lead. However, the Mules' Emily Varni served three straight points and had an ace on the final point to make it 5-5. With the score 6-6, Kate Pleasants served five straight points and had an ace on the fifth point to make it 11-6. The Cardinals got as close as 14-11, but Maggie Taylor's kill gave the Mules the match.
Wesleyan took an 18-9 lead in the opening set, but the Mules did claw back and cut the deficit to 21-18 before the Cardinals scored the final four points. Colby led 14-12 in the second set and only trailed 19-18 later in the match. However, the Cardinals pulled away to take a 2-0 margin in sets.
Colby turned the momentum around in the third set with an 18-9 lead of their own on the way to the 25-14 victory. Wesleyan (4-12 overall) struggled in the fourth set as well to allow the Mules to take it to five sets.
Taylor finished with 11 kills and 15 digs, while fellow co-captain Varni added a match-high seven service aces and had 16 digs. The Mules had an 18-2 advantage in aces. Natalie Roy had 10 kills, 13 digs, and four service aces for the winners. Kim Donaldson smacked eight kills, Pleasants finished with 29 assists, and Lily Kramlich-Taylor added six kills and three aces.