GENESEO — Armed with the knowledge that it would be attending the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Volleyball Championship Tournament for the first time in 10 years, the Plattsburgh State volleyball team came into Saturday’s match against SUNY Geneseo determined to improve its playoff seeding by as many spots as possible.
Thanks to a 3-1 thrashing of the Knights, the Cardinals not only upped their overall record to 13-13, they saw their league mark rise to 6-3 – good enough to earn the fourth seed in the upcoming tournament. The Cardinals will face North Country rival SUNY Potsdam at 6 p.m. in the opening round of the league tournament which will be hosted by New Paltz on Friday, Nov. 8.
Eager to make short work of the host Knights, Plattsburgh State opened the match with an 8-2 surge which featured two kills from Rosi Cummings and one of Meghan Clifford’s four service aces.
After the initial surge by the Cardinals, SUNY Geneseo clawed its way back into the thick of things before Plattsburgh State used some offensive contributions from up and down the lineup to go ahead by eight points. Leading 11-8, the Cardinals received kills from Maggie Schrantz, Jackie Mariotti and Laura Diehl before Kristen Marchisotto put an end to a 5-0 run with another service ace.
From there, Plattsburgh State was forced to hold off just one more push by the Knights in the opening frame. A 9-2 surge by the home squad trimmed the Cardinals’ edge to 19-18 before Cummings blasted down another pair of terminations as part of a 4-0 spurt that put some additional distance between the Cardinals and Knights.
A ball handling error by the Knights proved to be the set point for Plattsburgh State in the 25-21 first frame.
In order to extend their lead in the match to 2-0, the Cardinals were forced play through a back-and-forth second set. Although the visitors opened up a 6-2 lead highlighted by a combo block from Laura Diehl and Marchisotto, the Knights provided a response to just about every point the Cardinals came up with.
With the set knotted at 14, Plattsburgh State was finally able to create a sizable amount of distance between itself and the Knights. A 7-0 scoring streak which featured another pair of kills from the hand of Cummings and a service ace by Diehl left the Knights stunned and allowed the Cardinals to go on and take the second frame 25-17.
The only time the Cardinals’ offense sputtered was in the third set. SUNY Geneseo used an 8-1 run to open up a 15-9 advantage over the Cardinals before earning its only set victory of the match with a scoring surge of the 8-3 variety.
During the frame, the Cardinals hit .000 while the home team posted an attack percentage of .235.
Plattsburgh State got its offense back on track in the deciding set, assaulting the Knights from all angles during a 10-1 run to begin the frame. Through the course of the initial offensive flurry, Diehl floored consecutive kills before Clifford smacked back-to-back service aces.
The only time the Knights threatened in the frame was when they closed to within five points, 20-15, before the Cardinals used a 5-0 run to end the match.
Cummings starred for the Cardinals once again, flooring a match-high 19 kills on a .333 attack percentage. Diehl added 11 terminations of her own as well as a pair of block assists. Marchisotto and Clifford passed out 23 and 16 assists respectively and Amanda Wickers came up with a match-high 17 digs.
Meagan Johnson led the Blue Devils with 10 kills while Dani Sayler scooped up 13 digs.
Before the Cardinals head to their first SUNYAC Championship Tournament since 2003, they have four more regular season matches to play. Plattsburgh State will take a trip to Oneonta on Friday to take part in the Dig Pink Invitational. The first two opponents the Cardinals will face are Hartwick and Montclair State at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. respectively.