HAMILTON, N.Y. – The American University volleyball team earned a 16-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-14 road victory over Colgate on Friday evening to secure first place in the Patriot League standings. It marks the 12th time in AU's 14-year Patriot League tenure that the Eagles have earned at least a share of the league's regular-season championship.
The Eagles improved to 24-5 on the season and remained perfect in the Patriot League with a 15-0 mark. Meanwhile, the Raiders dropped to 14-11 overall and 8-7 in the league.
Junior Sarah Katz recorded a match-high 14 kills to lead the Eagles, while senior Kelly McCaddin pitched in 12 kills and a .550 attack percentage, along with seven blocks. In addition, junior Allison Cappellino tallied 13 kills and a career-high-tying 27 digs.
The Eagles started out slowly in the opening set, falling into an early 9-4 deficit. The Raiders pushed their advantage to seven points, taking a 19-12 lead before AU cut the margin to four points. However, Colgate closed out the set on a 6-1 run to take the victory.
Cappellino and Katz each finished with four kills in the opening set, but the Eagles were held to a .109 hitting percentage, committing seven attack errors. Meanwhile, the Raiders hit .302 in the opening set with 15 kills and just two attack errors.
AU never trailed in the second set, moving ahead to a 16-10 advantage. However, Colgate battled back, tying the score at 17-17 and 18-18. American did not relent, finishing strong in the 25-21 set win. McCaddin and senior setter Monika Smidova each contributed four kills for the Eagles.
The third set was close throughout, with the Eagles holding a slight lead most of the way. After a late surge put AU ahead 24-20, the Raiders fought off two set points, but American held on for the 25-22 win. Cappellino and Katz each scored four kills in the set to lead the Eagles.
In the fourth set, AU got out to an 8-4 lead, but Colgate came back to tie the score. However, the set did not remain close for long, as the Eagles took control. Hitting .385, American closed out the set with a 16-5 run to secure the match victory. McCaddin registered five kills, while freshman Hoakalei Dawson contributed a pair of aces during a five-point service run.
American concludes the regular season tomorrow when it faces Lehigh at 4 p.m. The Mountain Hawks, who have secured second-place in the Patriot League standings with a 13-2 mark, have won eight straight matches.
"This was a big road win tonight at Colgate," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "We saw Colgate come out competing hard and were not able to respond after falling badly behind in the first set. The second set went back and forth, but in the end, our attack started to pick up steam, enabling us to tie the match at 1-1. Monika and Kelly began to connect better in the middle, which helped us gain momentum. By game four, we were starting to get more production out of everyone, ending the final set with strong play.
"It was not our top level of play and we will have to be better to be able to defend our Patriot League title tomorrow and in the coming weekend in Bender Arena at the Championships."