By Melanie Lanzo
The Plattsburgh women’s volleyball team went to Oswego State Lakers’ Max Ziel Gymnasium Sept. 23 to compete in its opening SUNYAC game. Oswego has had a winning history, with a past record of 10 wins against Plattsburgh. The Lakers went on to take the match in a 3-0 sweep. Despite the loss, the Cardinals still played a good game carried by aces, kills and blocks.
During the first set, Plattsburgh had the first point with a kill that was caught by graduate student Kaitlyn Bjeiko. The winning streak continued for the Cardinals, as first-year Jeannette Ashong and senior Jenn Braun made the score 5-4 by not only serving kills, but blocking kills coming in from the Lakers.
There were multiple attack errors by Oswego, giving an advantage to Plattsburgh. Halfway through the first set, the score was 8-5. The streak was soon cut short with bad sets occurring on both teams’ ends. Play-by-play started to pick up, and the score started to even out.
Oswego began to substitute players, including putting sophomore Emily Zeisler in to play. The score began to sway in the Lakers’ favor, when an attack error by first-year Cardinal Madison Bolinger made the score 9-12.
The Cardinals were stuck with 22 points for an extended period of time, as multiple Lakers kills and Plattsburgh attack errors allowed Oswego to catch up. The Lakers won the first set with a score of 23-25.
Less than halfway through the second set, the score was 5-4 in favor of Oswego. The Lakers won four points and consistently kept scoring kills and blocking the bad starting sets from the Cardinals. Throughout both sets, graduate student Alica Fisher stepped up in a big way for the Cardinals. She helped to give the Cardinals a 20-17 edge toward the middle of the third set.
First-year Cardinal Maggie Lyon performed a crucial kill, but back-to-back Oswego scores led the Lakers to the 25-23 win.
“It’s normal for us to feel upset after a loss, but it’s not as bad when we feel as though we played well,” Braun said. “For the next games, I think we can improve on keeping our heads in the game and playing until the sets are over or until the whistle is blown. I think our mental toughness has been stronger this year and if we keep that up and improve it, it will help us a lot throughout the rest of the season.”
The Cardinals lost to the Cortland Red Dragons 0-3 Sept. 24, its second loss of the weekend. The first set was devastating for the Cardinals, as it quickly fell into a 0-7 holes the result of multiple attack errors and Red Dragon kills. Plattsburgh finally put points on the board when Cortland committed multiple service errors, bringing the score to 4-9.
The Cardinals were stuck with four points, until halfway through the first set, when a lone point made the score 5-19. Plattsburgh took the first-set loss with a final score of 8-25.
The second and third sets were much of the same, with final scores of 14-25 and 11-25, respectively. Plattsburgh junior Emma Rivers had six assists and junior Shannon Fizpatrick defended with five digs.
“I genuinely think our defense picked up a decent amount during that game, myself included,” Braun said. “We also, as a team, did not miss a single serve throughout the game against Cortland, which is an amazing accomplishment. Some plays I am proud of are the balls we were able to pick up and keep in play, also being able to hit some of the open court, even when they had huge blocks up against us.”
The Cardinals will play today, Sept. 30, against SUNY Oneonta in Memorial Hall, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Plattsburgh will remain at home tomorrow, Oct. 1, to play the New Paltz Hawks on the Cardinals’ Senior Day.