Nov. 29, 2012
By Matt Becker
Coach Ryan Baker's high expectations may have taken a bit of a hit when his team lost nine straight matches and 11 of its first 12 to start the season.
But his players responded to their difficult non-conference schedule exactly how he wanted them to, and now the Colgate volleyball team is in the NCAA tournament. The Raiders play the University of Texas on Thursday in a first-round match in Austin.
The winner of that match will play either Texas A&M or N.C. State in the second round Friday.
"The beginning of the season was tough, but this team learned how to be resilient," Baker said Tuesday before his team boarded the plane for Texas. "I thought we were a little fragile at first, but those tough matches taught us a lot, and they learned how to persevere."
The lessons learned at the beginning of the season paid off at the end, when the Raiders won 13 of their last 15 matches, including a 3-2 victory over perennial power American in the Patriot League tournament championship.
"American is a tradition in the Patriot League," Baker said. "To knock them off was monumental. All year long, we wanted to play American in the tournament. They're one of the best teams, and it was important for us to know that we can beat them."
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