Volleyball falls twice on final day at RIT


ROCHESTER, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team (8-6) fell to Bluffton University and the University of Rochester by identical 3-1 scores on the second day of the RIT invitational. The Bears finished the weekend with a 2-2 mark. Junior setter Jenna Blujus was named to the all-tournament team.

In the early match against the Beavers (5-6), Potsdam captured an opening set 25-20 victory. Bluffton responded with three straight victories of 25-18, 25-12, and 25-20. Senior middle hitter Kayla Howard and freshman right side Rachel Auerbach led the offense with eight and seven kills, respectively. Blujus recorded 25 assists and matched senior libero Jill Dye with 16 digs. Howard and fellow senior middle hitter Anne Fildes each totaled four blocks.

“We started well, but made too many unforced errors in the second set,” said Bears Head Coach Steve Pike. “We responded better in the next set, but we weren't able to execute well enough. We need to better job of setting and running a fast tempo offense.”

The second match against the Yellowjackets, played out in a similar fashion. Potsdam won the opening set 25-22, but a big and physical Rochester team took advantage of the Bears' errors for a 25-6 victory in the second. Potsdam recovered again and battled the Jackets nearly point-for-point the rest of way, but fell 25-23 and 25-19 in the final two games. Auerbach finished the tournament strong with 12 kills and seven digs. Howard had eight kills and two blocks. Blujus finished with another 27 assists and nine digs, while sophomore libero Gabby Arana and Dye totaled 16 and nine digs, respectively.

“We handled ourselves well in the first set and executed on a high level,” Pike said. “But again we made two many errors in the second. We made some good adjustments and I was happy to see that we almost matched Rochester the rest of the way. Jenna and Rachel played well offensively for us and Kayla was strong on defense.”

The Bears now set their sites on pool play at Cortland next weekend and have a busy week of practice ahead of them.

“We need to work on creating more offense across the board from the outside as well as our serving and defense,” added Pike. “And we hope to be a little healthier when we get to Cortland.”

The Bears open SUNYAC East Pool Play on Friday, Sept. 21. They square off with Oneonta State at 3 p.m. and SUNY Plattsburgh at 5 p.m.