In its season opener, the Ithaca College volleyball team traveled to Colorado to compete in the Colorado College Invitational on Sept. 1–2.
The South Hill squad took on Augustana College for their first match and took a three-set victory 28–26, 25–21 and 25–20. Although challenged by the Vikings, the Blue and Gold were able to pull through and win.
After Augustana scored the first goal, the Blue and Gold had a four-point lead, which soon turned into an even match midway through the set. With the Bombers up 18–17, Augustana pulled together a 7–2 scoring run, which was boosted by four kills by the Vikings and put the Bombers close to losing the set 20–24.
Junior middle hitters Amanda Cerruti and Katie Evans combined on three blocks to force extra points. Using a kill from Cerruti and a combo block from freshmen outside hitters Sarah Jennison and Reagan Stone, the Bombers took the set 28–26.
Evans earned 10 kills on 23 attacks for a .304 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Caroline Gerulskis had 10 kills on 26 attacks. Cerruti had 8 kills and Jennison had 10 kills. Stone had five kills and senior outside hitter Joelle Goldstein finished with five.
On the defensive side, Cerruti had one solo block and three block assists. Junior defensive specialist Tara Stilwell had a 16-dig effort, leading the team.
The Bombers went on to fall to nationally-ranked Colorado College in a four-setter 25–19, 26–24, 25–15 and 25–14 in their final match of the day. The Blue and Gold fought hard, but the Tigers took wins in three out of the four sets played.
Ultimately the Blue and Gold fell short with a 25–19 score. The Bombers came back the next set to even the match one-all. The South Hill squad stayed close to the Tigers the whole set, trailing 23–19 after a 4–0 scoring run by the opponents.
The Bombers won seven out of the next eight rallies to score 26–24 and win the set. Goldstein had six kills and two block assists, and Stone and Jennison each scored two kills.
Colorado College pulled together lengthy scoring runs during the third and fourth sets to take the victory.
Goldstein finished with a match-best of 14 kills and earned three service aces, two block assists and five digs. Evans posted Ithaca’s best hitting line, producing seven kills and a .267 hitting percentage.
Sept. 2 the Bombers took on Whittier College and Berry College. Falling to both teams, the Blue and Gold finished the weekend 1–3.
Stilwell was recognized by Colorado College as an All-Tournament Team honoree, collecting 91 digs over the weekend.
During the first match on the second day of competition, the Bombers lost the first set 25–14 against Whittier. The Blue and Gold had a quick comeback in the second set taking it 25–23. Unfortunately, the Bombers fell back and lost the third and fourth set to be defeated by Whittier.
Sophomore outside hitter Taylor McCarthy had a game-best of 16 kills and a .394 hitting percentage. Evans had 10 kills and a pair of block assists.
The Bombers stood out defensively with Stone earning one block and nine block assists and Stilwell taking 27 digs.
In the second match of the day , the Bombers struggled to outperform Berry, losing the five set match 28–26, 25–19, 25–22, 28–26 and 15–9.
The Blue and Gold came out strong in the first set. The team put up 17 kills and received four of the final five points to win the set 28–26.
Berry took the next two sets, but the Bombers came back in the fourth set, taking it 28–26.
Now tied, the match went on for one more set, which was held at 7–7 in the first half. Berry finished the match on an 8–2 run to win the fifth and final set.
Goldstein had a double-double of 19 kills and 18 digs. McCarthy had 12 kills, two block assists and three digs. Sophomore setter Caitlyn Floyd had a career-best of 46 assists and 10 digs.
The Bombers’ next match is at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania for the ASICS Invitational against Juniata College.