---- — ROCHESTER — With a pair of splendid offensive efforts from junior Maggie Schrantz and Rosi Cummings, the Plattsburgh State volleyball team was able to depart Nazareth College with victories over Nazareth and Ithaca on the final day of the Purple & Gold Invitational.
Thanks to the two triumphs, Plattsburgh State saw its record improve to 8-11. Cummings also earned a spot on the all-tournament after amassing 50 kills in three matches.
“We won two more matches on Saturday and it was a huge step for us,” Plattsburgh coach Dena O’Connell said. “The girls fought back in every set and I was very proud of them.”
Any visions the Cardinals possessed of a short three-set victory were quickly driven from their minds by Nazareth (15-5).
Controlling the first set from the opening serve, Plattsburgh State began the frame on a 5-2 run and never looked back. During the opening frame, Schrantz was the go-to offensive player for the Cardinals as she racked up four kills and a block assist in the 25-16 victory.
Plattsburgh State put its offensive efficiency on display by hitting .261 as a squad while limiting the Golden Flyers to an attack percentage of .027.
It was more of the same in set two as the Cardinals were able to open up a 14-6 lead over their non-conference opponent. Leading 7-6, Plattsburgh State went on a 7-0 run that featured back-to-back service aces from sophomore Jeanette Braun.
After Rosi Cummings picked up another Plattsburgh State service ace to make the score 21-14, the Golden Flyers began to run their offense in a much more efficient manner. In a preview of things to come, Nazareth reeled off four straight points to pull within two points, 24-22, before a termination from Laura Diehl gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Nazareth began the third frame on an 8-2 surge that featured four kills and a trio of service aces. During the set, the Cardinals were down by as many as eight points on two separate occasions. In the late stages of the set, Cummings floored two kills as part of a 3-0 spurt that brought Plattsburgh State within three, 20-17, but the home team closed out the set on a 5-1 run to force a fourth set.
Looking to finish off the Golden Flyers in four, the Cardinals opened up a 16-12 lead in the frame before Nazareth began their comeback. The home team ended the set on a 13-3 run to knot the match at two sets each. Plattsburgh State saw its hitting percentage dip to .049 in the fourth set.
Schrantz took control for the Cardinals in the winner-take-all fifth set. The junior smashed down a pair of kills and added a block assist during a 5-0 run by Plattsburgh State to open the frame.
Thanks to her play, Nazareth never held a lead in the set and Diehl was able to finish off the victory with her 11th kill of the match to account for the final 15-13 score.
Schrantz led all players with 18 kills during the match and completed her double-double bid with 11 digs. Cummings proved to be the second double-double performer for Plattsburgh State as she wound up with 17 kills and 16 digs.
Diehl hit a match-high .409 with 11 kills and her 4.5 blocks helped Plattsburgh State to a 10-4 blocking advantage over the Golden Flyers. Amanda Wickers had a team-high 26 digs and Kristen Marchisotto led the way in assists with 29.
Nazareth accumulated 12 service aces and benefited from 15 kills each by Chelsea Beecher and Olivia Harrigan.
In their second match of the day, the Cardinals didn’t allow Ithaca (8-15) to do much on offense as the Bombers were held to an attack percentage of .096 during the three-set sweep.
Leading 9-8 in the first set, the Cardinals embarked on a 9-1 scoring surge which featured a pair of service aces and a kill from Cummings. Errors by Ithaca accounted for five Plattsburgh State points during the run.
Plattsburgh State allowed the Bombers to pull within four points, 22-18, before closing out the first set with a 3-0 run that featured kills from Cummings and Marchisotto.
Meghan Clifford led off the second set with a service ace for the Cardinals, but it was Ithaca who controlled the early stages of the frame before Plattsburgh State regained its offensive footing.
Trailing 8-7, the Cardinals used a 6-2 run to regain the lead for good. Syline Kim helped the Bombers get to within 15-14 after hammering down a kill, but a 10-2 Plattsburgh State run gave the Cardinals the set and a 2-0 lead.
Plattsburgh State leaped over its final hurdle late in the third set. Trailing 16-14, the Cardinals used an 11-1 run to take the third set as well as the match.
Cummings victimized the Bombers all match long, as she floored a match-high 18 terminations. Diehl was the only other player in the match to reach double-digits in kills as the sophomore racked up 11. As a team, the Cardinals hit .290 in the sweep.
Schrantz chipped in three of Plattsburgh State’s seven service aces and Wickers added a match-high 18 digs to the winning cause. Marchisotto and Clifford passed out 19 and 11 assists respectively.
Before engaging in SUNYAC play again, the Cardinals will make their final 2013 appearance in Memorial Hall. Plattsburgh State returns home to take on North Country rival St. Lawrence on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.