The SUNY Plattsburgh women’s volleyball team opened its season with one win and three loses. Plattsburgh State hosted the Best Western Plus-Ground Round Cardinal Classic at Memorial Hall last Friday and Saturday. The Cardinals went up against Hartwick College, The Sages College, Colby-Sawyer College and Plymouth State University.

Having four matches in two days, head volleyball coach Matthew Lein said that it was a great starting point for the team. Lein wanted the team to be competitive and it would be great to come out with four wins, but overall he wanted the team to bond and get ready for the upcoming conference schedule.

“It’s tough to go 1-3 on the weekend to start up, but I think that the way we started out is going to lead to more wins throughout the year,” Lein said.

The team came close but lost against Hartwick College on Friday, 3-2 (15-25, 25-15, 14-25, 25-23, 15-13) and topped the game against The Sages College, 3-1 (28-26, 20-25, 25-20, 20-17).

On Saturday, SUNY Plattsburgh lost to both Colby-Sawyer College and Plymouth State University with the score of 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-18) then (31-29, 18-25, 29-27, 25-13) respectively.

Junior Rachel Mennonna said the outcome may not be what the team wanted but she thinks that this is the strongest team throughout the past three years. The team played intense games for the past weekend and even though it was tiring, it was fun for her and the team.

“Some of the endings were unfortunate, but we impressed ourselves quite a bit,” junior Allyssa Rock said.

Before summer started, Lein sent out optional summer workouts that the coaching staff recommended for the team so that they can be ready to go for the pre-season. The workouts involved weight training and conditioning, which the athletes have to do on their own.

Junior Abby Bone said all the summer training was set up by the assistant women’s volleyball coach Jordynne Ales and that she did really well. As for pre-season, the team ran three practices per day, which included different conditioning, court time, no-ball drills and more. Bone said that it helped the team to get back in shape quickly. Mennonna said that working out five times a week and playing in a beach volleyball league  helped her better prepare for the season.

Beach volleyball helped her prepare for the season as she is now playing in full rotation so she gets to play defense. Barrett also said that beach volleyball helps her with reading the ball and also diving, as diving on sand is easier than diving on the hardwood floor.

The training for the team started on Aug. 17, but the team reported for training on Aug. 16. The team’s training involved a warm-up, then the team splintered off into two courts to work on personal skills and positional skills. The last hour of training was on team training and strategy.

While there are a lot of returners on the team, there are new athletes who joined the team this season. Lein expects the freshmen to step onto the floor right away.

“I think we all got along really well from the start, we are all super fun and super weird,” Mennonna said. “We kind of like just mashed, you know. Just hanging out in the locker room, it’s when you get to know each other best.”

Bone also said that new freshmen on the team are one of the best parts of coming back. After the match last weekend, the team will fine-tune things that they were a little rough at and try to pull it together for the tournament in Maine, Bone said.

For the upcoming tournament, Lein thinks that the team is more prepared and there are possibilities for the team to take some wins. Lein also believes that the team might be underestimated but he really does think that the team has a chance to make it into the SUNYAC championship this year.

“Always just, even slightly improve our record from last year,” Rock said was the expectations for the season. “and just learn how to do new things as a group and for ourselves.”

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