With playoff hopes on the line, the Plattsburgh State volleyball team will have to beat the top three teams in the conference in order to have a chance.

The Cardinals will travel to Geneseo, New York, tonight for the last SUNYAC pool play tournament of the year.

PSUC (6-18, 1-5) will kick off the weekend against the host team, SUNY Geneseo (17-7, 6-0). They’ll continue tomorrow against SUNY Fredonia (16-6, 5-1) and conference-leading SUNY New Paltz (20-5, 6-0).

New Paltz and Geneseo have already locked in the first two spots in the SUNYAC playoffs. Despite the Cards currently sitting in second to last place, there is still a possibility that they can move up and earn a spot in the postseason.

There are four teams in the conference sitting at 2-4: SUNY Oswego, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Cortland and SUNY Potsdam. PSUC will likely have to win all three matches this weekend in order to advance, but they also have to hope that these four teams don’t win all of their games. These teams will all play their pool games in Brockport, New York.

“It’s definitely exciting,” freshman Meghan O’Brien said. “We can definitely shock a lot of the teams.”

O’Brien explained that the team has to be focused, and the mental part of this weekend will be the most challenging.

“We can’t get down on ourselves,” O’Brien said. “We can’t give them a huge gap. We need to keep up our energy and keep working together.”

On a scale from one to ten, O’Brien’s confidence level is a nine going into this weekend.

“They’re hungry to go out there and show everyone what we can do,” head coach Matt Lein said. “We need to go in there and look at them like any other team.”

Lein believes that the six freshman on his squad are ready and have developed throughout the season.

“They’ve done a great job of stepping up,” Lein said. “They’re starting to do a nice job; I’ve utilized them every weekend.”

The Cards are currently on a six-match losing streak. In those six matches, they have won three out of 21 sets.

Last weekend, PSUC hosted the Cardinal Quad, their last home tournament of the regular season, for some non-conference play. They opened up on Friday against St. Lawrence University (17-7), against whom Cards dropped all three sets (17-25,29-31,22-25).

On Saturday, they faced the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (19-4). PSUC again lost the match quickly in three sets (21-25,17-25,23-25).

They closed out the tournament losing by a much closer margin against Gordon College (13-11). Gordon took the first two sets while the Cards took the next two, and a close fifth set ended in a Gordon victory (21-25,21-25, 25-13,25-20,10-15).

It’s no secret that when PSUC serves well, they play well. Although they lost, the Cards managed to outserve St. Lawrence and Gordon, leading in aces 10-9 and 12-6, respectively, which resulted in closer games. They were out-served by WPI, who collected nine aces compared to PSUC’s four.

The Cards’ attack errors are also the third highest in the conference at 479. They were fifth in errors a month ago. PSUC’s ability to play off the serve and its ability to keep the ball in the court will be the ultimate factors determining the results this weekend.

Email Jack Flood at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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