---- — PLATTSBURGH — On a night where Rosi Cummings recorded her 1,000th career kill in front of a sizable pro-Plattsburgh State congregation, the Cardinals couldn’t overcome some strong play down the stretch from St. Lawrence as they fell 3-2 (25-16, 15-25, 24-26, 25-19, 15-10) in a nonconference battle against the Saints.
Thanks to the setback against their North Country rivals, the Cardinals slip to 8-12 while St. Lawrence – the second-place squad in the Liberty League – improves to 15-6 in 2013.
For the majority of the first set, neither team could obtain any sort of sizable lead until the Saints made a late offensive push to take a 1-0 lead. With the score knotted at 15, things started clicking for the away team as Catherine Rowell floored a kill to begin a set-clinching 10-1 run.
Whenever the Cardinals tried to close the gap, they were met at the front of the net by any number of St. Lawrence defenders. During the spurt, the Saints tallied three of their 10 blocks in the match. Cummings blasted the only Plattsburgh State kill of the run to make things 20-16, but the Saints rang up the next five points.
Due to a strong service game from sophomore Laura Diehl, the Cardinals were able to knot the match at one. Trailing 3-2 in the second frame, the Cardinals ran off nine consecutive points which included back-to-back service aces from the Manorville, N.Y., product.
Armed with a comfortable advantage, the Cardinals were able to keep the Saints at arm’s length through the remainder of the set. The closest St. Lawrence came to the Cardinals was six points away, and Kristen Marchisotto put the 25th Plattsburgh State point on the board with a service ace.
Instead of keeping the Saints on their heels to begin the third set, Plattsburgh State allowed the visitors to begin the frame on a 9-4 run before head coach Dean O’Connell called a timeout to calm her team down.
St. Lawrence remained in control of the set long enough to take an 18-15 lead, but then the Plattsburgh State offense came to life. Jeanette Braun was the catalyst of a 6-1 Plattsburgh State run as the sophomore smashed down three kills during the stretch. Maggie Schrantz added a pair of terminations of her own to set the stage for a great finish.
St. Lawrence came back to take a 24-23 lead, but an attack error by Marisa Turner helped the Cardinals stave off that match point, and back-to-back terminations from Cummings and Diehl gave Plattsburgh State a 2-1 advantage.
Looking to clinch the match in the fourth set, Plattsburgh State fell victim to a 10-4 Saints run to begin the frame. The only lead the Cardinals held in the set was when Cummings led off the frame with another kill. Even though the Plattsburgh product hammered down her milestone termination in the fourth set, the Saints did just enough to earn a 25-19 decision and force a winner-take-all fifth set.
Regrettably, some early damage dealt by the Saints was too much for Plattsburgh State to overcome. The visitors began the match-clinching frame on a 4-1 spurt, and the Cardinals were never able to close to within fewer than two points.
Trailing 9-7, the Cardinals gave up a 3-0 run to the Saints which featured two straight service aces from Anna Kassab. From there, the Cardinals pulled back to within three points before 3-1 stretch closed things out.
The Saints picked up three of their eight service aces in the fifth set and outhit the Cardinals .207 to .175. Cummings finished the final home outing of her career with a match-high 21 kills and an attack percentage of .275. Braun and Schrantz floored 12 and 10 terminations respectively for the Cardinals.
Also playing in the final home match of her career was senior Amanda Wickers who ran down a match-high 22 digs. Marchisotto had three of the Cardinals’ six service aces as well as 25 assists.
Lexi Brown accumulated 18 kills for the Saints while teammate Rebecca Doser added 11 of her own and finished the match with a .474 attack percentage.
With the entirety of its 2013 home schedule permanently etched in the history books, the Cardinals turn their attention to another round of SUNYAC Pool Play. On Friday, Plattsburgh State will embark on the short journey to Potsdam to compete in the three SUNYAC matches. Their first league encounter of the two-day stretch will be with SUNY Cortland at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.