MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — The Washington and Lee volleyball team pushed fourth-ranked Colorado College to the brink in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, but the Tigers escaped with a 3-2 victory. In her final collegiate match, senior libero Elly Cosgrove (Wilmington, N.C./John T. Hoggard) totaled a career-best 33 digs to lead the team.
The Generals (21-13) trailed in the match, 2-1, heading into the fourth. The two squads could not create much separation in the stanza, with the scored tied, 21-21, late in the set. CC (32-2) grabbed a 22-21 lead after a bad W&L set, but junior outside hitter Allison Webb (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake) evened the score, 22-22, with a kill.
During the next rally, senior outside hitter Meg Guignon (St. Louis, Mo./Visitation Academy) sent a ball over the net that landed between two Tigers in the back row for a kill to take a 23-22 lead. A solo block by sophomore middle blocker Courtney Berry (Charlottesville, Va./Western Albemarle) on the right side gave the Generals two opportunities for set point, 24-22. CC fought off the first with a kill by junior outside hitter Jordan Mullen, but then a kill by Berry off the arms of the Tigers' block extend the match to a fifth, 25-23.
In the fifth, W&L trailed, 7-6, following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kiera Borthwick (Northville, Mich./Northville), but then three straight points by the Tigers stretched the margin to 10-6. After a Blue and White timeout, back-to-back service errors pushed the score to 11-7. The Generals trimmed the lead to two (11-9) after two attack errors by CC, but two consecutive points for Colorado College extended the advantage back to four, 13-9.
A kill by Guignon brought W&L back to within three (13-10), but a Blue and White attack error gave CC four chances at match point. The Generals fought off the first two due to attack errors by the Tigers, but then a kill off the block junior middle hitter Margo Spaethling gave Colorado College the win, 15-12.
Along with her career-best 33 digs, Cosgrove also had four aces and three assists. The 33 digs tie for the fourth-most in a single match in program history. Junior setter Anna Soroka (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) totaled 38 assists and a career-best 26 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Brynne Gould (Boone, N.C./Watauga) led the front row with 14 kills, while Berry had nine. Guignon and Webb each had eight kills, while Guignon chipped in 14 digs and Webb registered six blocks. Junior outside hitter Ashleigh Meade (Bristow, Va./Patriot) tallied 17 digs. Borthwick finished with seven digs, five blocks, four kills and two aces.
Junior outside hitter Haley Harris and senior middle hitter Myca Steffey-Bean each recoreded 11 kills to pace the Tigers. Mullen finished with 18 digs and 10 kills.
W&L grabbed a 9-6 lead early in the first set. A kill by Mullen pulled the Tigers to within two, 9-7, but then a kill by Gould and back-to-back aces by Cosgrove pushed the advantage to 12-7.
Colorado College called timeout to stymie the run, but Cosgrove came out of the break with her third straight ace. Gould followed with a kill off the block to stretch the advantage to 14-7. W&L went on to take the set, 25-20.
The squads were tied, 9-9, in the opening portion of the second, but CC then tallied five straight points to assume a 13-9 lead and force a Blue and White timeout. The break proved useful, as W&L scored five straight points, capped on a service ace into the far left corner by Borthwick, to grab a 14-13 edge.
The squads went back and forth over the next few rallies, but with the Blue and White leading, 20-19, the Tigers won six of the final seven points in the stanza to secure the second, 25-21. Colorado College then went on to take the third, 25-17.
This was the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Generals since the 2014 season. This concludes the 2018 season for the team.
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