Courtesy of Colorado College Athletics
MOUNT BERRY, Ga. -- Normally, when a volleyball team loses in three sets, it’s easy to pinpoint what led to the result.
It will be much more difficult for Colorado College to determine what it could have done better in Saturday’s 25-21, 25-23, 27-25 loss to Emory University in the regional semifinal match of the 2018 NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship.
The Tigers hit .309 as a team with only nine errors on 94 attacks and finished with a 7-4 advantage in total blocks. On the other side of the net, the Eagles hit .308 with 11 more kills, but also had eight more errors.
Despite the match finishing as a statistical draw, the end result remains. CC came out on the wrong side end of a three-set decision for the first time in 69 matches. The last time Colorado College lost in three sets was during the regional semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
It is also quite possible that CC was knocked out of the tournament by the eventual national champion for the second year in a row.
Junior outside hitter Haley Harris led the Tigers with 11 kills, while junior middle hitter Marguerite Spaethling added nine.
Spaethling did not misfire on any of her 14 swings and led all players with a .643 hitting percentage.
Senior middle hitter Myca Steffey-Bean hit an error-free .429 with six kills on 14 swings, while junior outside hitter Jordan Mullen put down seven kills on 22 attempts without an error and hit .318.
Steffey-Bean also had four total blocks, while junior libero Anna Gurolnick finished with seven digs.
Trailing 20-14 during the first set, CC scored four consecutive points on a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Laney Swan, a pair of blocks from Steffey-Bean and a Harris kill. Emory responded with Karissa Dzurik kill and a pair of blocks to re-claim the momentum and went on to take the first set.
The Tigers led 20-18 in the second set after a block by Steffey-Bean and Swan, but kills from Sydney Leimbach and Mady Arles and back-to-back ball-handling calls gave the Eagles a 22-20 cushion.
Colorado College pulled to within a point twice on kills by Harris and Mullen, but a kill from Leah Saunders gave Emory a two-set lead.
The Eagles led by five early in the third set, only to see CC rally to level the score at 13-13. After falling behind by two on several occasions, the Tigers took their first lead at 23-22.
Colorado College took its final lead at 25-24 on a kill by Harris, but a Saunders kill tied the score and Emory closed out the match with a blocked shot and a Leimbach kill.
Saunders and Tara Martin led the Eagles with 11 kills apiece.
Leimbach finished with nine kills on 16 swings with only one error.
Emory improved to 26-6 and will play the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Sunday’s regional championship match.
Colorado College finished the season with a 32-3 record.