Bears open SUNYAC Pool play with two wins
CORTLAND, N.Y. – The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team opened up SUNYAC Pool play Friday evening. Potsdam (10-6, 2-0 SUNYAC) downed Oneonta State (11-4) in three straight sets and finished off the day with a 3-1 over SUNY Plattsburgh (7-6).
Potsdam came out swinging in their first match against Oneonta. The Bears jumped to an early lead off of the serving of junior setter Jenna Blujus and junior outside hitter Dakota Pruiss. Oneonta had no answer as Potsdam took the first set, 25-16. The Red Dragons solved the serving duo in the second set as both teams battle for the lead. Potsdam fought back to tie the score at 22 all late in the set. The Bears captured three tough points to hold off Oneonta 25-23, building momentum into the third set.
The Bears maintained the pressure throughout the third game. Senior middle hitters Kayla Howard and Anne Fildes controlled the net with their blocking. The Red Dragons could not find a rhythm as the two seniors propelled Potsdam to a 25-15 victory.
Freshman outside hitter Rachel Auerbach led the Bears attack with eight kills. Blujus tallied 22 assists and four service aces. Pruiss finished with eight digs and Howard contributed five blocks, respectively.
“I thought our middle offense was great,” said Head Coach Steve Pike. “I was really impressed with the job we did with our serve and receive game. It allowed us to stay in our system. We played good consisted volleyball throughout the match and I thought that was the key to our success. Kayla and Anne were doing a great job in the middle for us and I thought Jill Dye played one of her best matches of the year.”
Potsdam continued their success in the next match against Plattsburgh.
The Cardinals edged the Bears for the first set, 26-24. Potsdam rallied in the next three games to kill Plattsburgh's momentum. The Bears dominated each set with great serves and defense, winning 25-14, 25-15, and 25-22. Blujus's serve kept the Cardinals off balance allowing Potsdam to play within their system. Howard was a force at the net, as she shut down the Plattsburgh offense with several big blocks.
Auerbach led the Bears with 14 kills. Blujus had 42 assists and 10 digs. Howard contributed 13 kills and seven blocks. Senior libero Jill Dye tallied 18 digs.
“I was very happy with how we performed throughout the day,” said Pike. “I was impressed with Jenna's distribution of the ball to our hitters and with Dakota for getting after it on the court after not playing for ten days. It was great to have her energy and intensity on the court.”
The Bears are back in action Saturday, Sept. 22 for Day Two of SUNYAC East Pool play at 10 a.m.