By Owen Kutlu, Staff Writer
After falling to Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference championship, Gettysburg’s volleyball team eagerly waited to hear whether their name would be called for the NCAA tournament field. Luckily for them, it was. The Bullets would compete in the NCAA volleyball tournament for the first time since 2005.
Gettysburg secured a first-round matchup with the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons, champions of the SUNYAC. The match took place on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, MA on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Gettysburg found themselves in an early hole during the first set of play. The Bullets managed to fight back and close the gap, but from that point forward, Cortland stayed one step ahead. Gettysburg kept pushing, yet could never gain the lead, and fell 25-20 in the first set.
The second set was more of the same for both teams. It was knotted up for a while, but Cortland ran to pull away from the Bullets. Gettysburg did not give up easily and went on a run of their own to get within reach, but Cortland’s lead proved to be too much to overcome. The Red Dragons took the second set by a score of 25-22.
One set away from their season-ending, Gettysburg had to pull out all of the stops to remain alive. The Bullets gained some momentum in the third set and held a commanding 11-6 lead at one point. Unfortunately for them, that lead vanished rather quickly, as Cortland strung together nine out of 10 of the next points to go in front.
Gettysburg continued to leave it all out there to bring the set to 18-all and then 21-all moments later. It was anybody’s set to win. Only four points away from victory, Cortland applied pressure and managed to win the last four points to secure their spot in the next round of the NCAA tournament.
Kylie Ulrich ’24 led the way for the Bullets with eight kills and three blocks. Catherine Holtz ’25 and Erin Gonzalez ’27 followed, tallying six kills of their own. Chelsea O’Leary ’24 put together a 14-dig and one-assist performance, with teammate Sophie Nasir ’25 adding 12 digs and 17 assists. Mary Huegel ’26 was strong on the defensive end and led Gettysburg with four blocks.
Gettysburg was officially eliminated from the competition, as they bowed out with a very respectable 23-6 record to end the year. The Bullets had their best season in recent history and look to build upon this postseason experience in the years to come.