Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cardinals clinch playoffs on Senior Night

(From left to right) Seniors Payton Zophy, Shannon Fitzpatrick, Lily White and Emma Rivers pose with flowers and framed jerseys at Senior Night at the Memorial Hall Gymnasium Oct. 28.


By Rebekah Riley

Senior Night was a thrilling experience for the volleyball seniors. The Cardinals beat the Blue Devils 5-2, two seniors hit milestones, and the Cardinals made it into the SUNYAC playoffs. 

The Cardinals celebrated the seniors on the team during a game Oct. 28. The seniors include Shannon Fitzpatrick, a defensive specialist and libero from Westtown, New York; Emma Rivers, a setter from Nesconset, New York; Payton Zophy, an outside hitter and libero from Clifton Park, New York; and Lily White, a defensive specialist from Saratoga Springs, New York.

Rivers and Zophy both reached career marks last weekend. Rivers hit her career record of 1,000 assists вuring a game against the Buffalo State Bengals Oct. 27. She is the 11th student-athlete in Plattsburgh history to reach this milestone,

“Reaching 1,000 assists on Friday was a really big thing for me and I’m really proud of myself for reaching that accomplishment,” Rivers said.

Zophy reached her 1,000 dig milestone Oct. 28. She is the 10th Cardinal in history to reach this milestone and the first since 2013.

“I wasn’t thinking too much about it. When he announced that I was like, oh, ‘Did that just happen?’ It was kind of crazy. It does feel good because I’ve been putting in a lot of work the past couple years, especially last year being out for most of the year. I really just want to push harder this year and to give my best. I think it’s really showing in the stats,” Zophy said.

While these seniors may or may not come back for a fifth year, they still have ideas of ways they want to keep volleyball active in their life.

Rivers has big ideas to keep volleyball active in her life that she wants to work with college athletes, and coaching is definitely something she would do. She mentioned that when she goes back home there is an opportunity for her to coach at a club that she was a part of in middle school. 

Zophy said she has experience coaching at camps and teams in high school. She has an interest in coaching all types of volleyball, like open gym volleyball, teams and even beach volleyball.

White is finishing up her coaching minor and she is excited about what is to come with volleyball in her life. She wants to be a coach and with her education degree she will be a teacher. She will be in a school setting and she wants to be a good volleyball coach. She said she wants to build up the athletes to have a love for the game. 

Fitzpatrick has had her goals of keeping volleyball active in her life in mind. She wants to join an adult volleyball club that plays throughout the year for fun, but while she is in a school setting teaching, she wants to look into the opportunity of coaching or assistant coaching modified, junior varsity, or varsity volleyball. 

The seniors are all excited to have the opportunity to play in the SUNYAC tournament coming up.

“I’m really excited to be able to go to playoffs, I have faith in my team that we can beat Geneseo, we just have to stay consistent throughout the whole game,” Fitzpatrick said in a text. 

“I was so excited on Saturday. The emotions that we were feeling as a team were crazy. The fact that we get to go to playoffs is just a huge accomplishment. Jeanette [Ashong] put the block down on the ball and it was the best moment of my life. We knew what was happening and, for college memories, like that’s top here right now,” White said.

Emotions were high and it will be a memory of a lifetime. 

“I can’t believe we’re actually going to playoffs, because it’s been years since this volleyball program has made it to SUNYAC playoffs and I’ve been saying it since my sophomore year of playing, I just want to make it to playoffs before I graduate. The fact that we are going to playoffs my senior year, it feels really great” Rivers said.

They are surprised, excited and have faith they will be able to go even further. 

“Honestly super excited, especially the past three years we’ve really been pushing to make the playoffs at least one year, just get the experience to be in the game and like, show everyone that we are good enough to be there and especially for it being the first time in 10 years may pay off. It feels really kind of surreal, but I’m really excited about it,” Zophy said. 

These seniors have a lot going on and have big plans for the future, whether it be their careers, life plans or volleyball outlooks. They still have lots to look forward to with the SUNYAC tournament coming up.

The first game of the SUNYAC playoff starts Nov. 7. The Cardinals will be traveling to Geneseo, where they will take on the Knights in the first round. The Knights were in the SUNYAC playoffs last year — they made it to the second round but lost to the Cortland Red Dragons. The Cardinals have not been to the SUNYAC playoffs since 2013.


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