Even an early deficit could not hold back the volleyball team.

At the Central Connecticut State University Invitational this weekend, the 5-4 Bulldogs lost only two games: the first two of the tournament. After digging themselves a hole against Stony Brook University Friday night, the team never looked back, ripping off nine consecutive games. After the Seawolves took the first two games of the tournament’s opening match 30-24 and 30-27, the Bulldogs charged back to win the next three 30-28, 30-25 and 15-6.

After the first two games, the Elis minimized their mistakes.

“Generally speaking, we played good competition at the D.C. tournament — Penn State and American are far above the level of any competition we’ll see,” defensive specialist Joey Lee ’03 said. “That definitely helped us pick up the speed of our game. After the first two games, it just clicked.”

Taryn Gallup ’04 and Renee Lopes ’06 led the Bulldog attack with 16 kills apiece. Lauren Burke ’05 added 13 kills while Alison Lungstrum ’04 added 10. Dana Loberg ’03 played a solid all-around game and finished with 12 kills, 14 digs and four aces. Jacqueline Becker had 56 assists in the five-game match.

The Bulldogs had no such slow start on the tournament’s second day, jumping out early against Rider University and finishing with a convincing 30-20, 30-24, 30-20 victory. The Bulldogs played their second-stringers in the contest without much of a drop-off.

Christy Paluf ’06 had 17 kills while Jana Freeman ’05 added 11. Lindsey Stimpson chipped in defensively with 13 digs and Betty Picinic ’03, the team’s captain, had 36 assists.

“Winning the tournament was a complete team effort,” Lee said. “Everyone had a hand in it. That everyone got a chance to play and played so well is a good confidence boost.”

In the finale against Central Connecticut State University, the Bulldogs put their starting lineup back in and clinched the tournament with a 30-25, 30-27, 30-20 victory over the host.

Lopes had 15 kills and Becker added 44 assists, giving her 100 in the two matches she played during the tournament.

Lee said that the team could still improve its passing and blocking but was impressed with the overall performance.

“Our defense is solid, and our offensive system is running smoothly,” she said. “Taryn Gallup really did a phenomenal job and so did Renee Lopes. Those two really played well.”

Before beginning Ivy League competition at Brown University Friday, the Bulldogs have one more tune-up against Fairfield University at home Tuesday night.

“Fairfield is always a very good team,” Lee said. “The speed of their game is usually a little faster than ours, but judging by what we’ve done in the past week or two, it should be a good game. We’ll give them a run for their money.”