Volleyball team drops hard-fought match to St. Lawrence

09.21.13

In a match that may well be long remembered as a see-saw struggle that could have gone either way, the SUNY Potsdam volleyball team came up a few breaks too short in falling in four sets (25-23, 24-26, 20-25, 16-25) to North Country rival St. Lawrence on Saturday night at Maxcy Field House.


The Lady Bears (6-9) opened with a gritty showing by taking the first set in come-from-behind fashion.  Potsdam narrowly took control of the match in a heartbreaking second set loss that was capsulated by 16 ties and seven lead changes.


Senior outside hitter Dakota Pruiss (Wallkill, N.Y. /Wallkill) came up with a series of big spikes that gave Potsdam leads of 11-10 and 17-16.  The Lady Bears even led as late in the match as 20-19 and tied it at 24 on a put away by junior Sharon Ofori (Bronx, N.Y. / John F. Kennedy), but were done in with a pair of unforced errors.


"We didn't make consistent errors.  We just made a string of errors at the wrong time," said first-year Potsdam coach Josh Stokes.


"For us, it's about our error management.  It's learning that we made an error and now we have to put the ball away.  In a whole, I'm happy that they went out there and played and went down swinging.  They were out there trying to battle.  They have fight in them.  They'll learn how to get on the other side of it."


Close throughout, the match had 32 ties and 10 lead changes.  The Saints (8-4) avenged last season's five-set loss to Potsdam.


With Potsdam trailing 17-12 in the first set, freshman Sloane Campbell (Scotia, N.Y. / Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) found her flow by reeling off five consecutive service points to knot the score at 17 all.


Down the stretch, it was senior Lauren Manzo (Clovis, Calif. / San Joaquin) setting up teammates Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y. / C. W. Baker) and Liza Fields (Duanesburg, N.Y. / Duanesburg) with cross court feeds to solidify a 1-0 set lead.


Blujus had 25 digs, 19 assists and 11 kills to record her fifth triple double of the season.  Manzo had a team-high 20 assists and seven digs, Fields contributed with nine kills, seven digs and two blocks while Gabby Arana (Willison Park, N.Y. / Herricks) had 23 digs.


Potsdam will travel to Cortland for SUNYAC pool play on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. against Oneonta.


The Lady Bears will continue pool play in Cortland on Saturday with matches versus hosts Cortland and Oswego slated for 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.