(Left to right) Payton Zophy, Kyleigh Ganz, Maggie Lyon and KC Burke share a laugh mid-set at Memorial Hall Sept. 2.
By Rebekah Riley
This past weekend, the Plattsburgh women’s volleyball took home three wins, sweeping the North Country Classic. The Cardinals took down Hilbert College, SUNY Canton and Wells College. This young team played to its potential and is quickly racking up wins.
The Cardinals traveled to Canton Friday, Sept. 15, where they first played Hilbert College, and won the match in an efficient three sets.
Plattsburgh took a lead against Hilbert college early on in the first set, winning 25-13. However, that wasn’t all for the Cardinals. In the second set, the Cards found Hilbert’s weak spot. Hilbert didn’t protect the deep corners, giving the Cards an opportunity to set up their outer hitters and right side players for a spike.
“They were scrappy, but we were able to find those deep corners. And I think that our offense is doing a really good job of staying aggressive and not being scared to swing at the goal,” Rivers said.
The Cards pulled through with a 25-9 win.
In the third set, Hilbert made the Cardinals fight for its win. With Hilbert standing at 24 points and the Cards at 22, Plattsburgh came back with a kill from Liya Girma and two attack faults from Hilbert. Payton Zophy served next at 24-25, needing just one more point to claim Cardinals victory. Katriana Wagner earned a kill, and Plattsburgh won the set 26-24.
The next day, the Cardinals took on the Canton Kangaroos and won in five sets. This game was back and forth, with the Cards winning the first, third and fifth sets. Plattsburgh took on the first set winning 25-17. The team had a total of 13 kills, five attack errors and 31 attempts.
The Roos came back in the second set, tying 1-1 with the Cards on a 25-18 win. With a tie on the board, the Cardinals put all it had into the third set, taking the lead over the Kangaroos with a 25-15 win.
Canton put up a fight to stay in the game, taking the fourth set 25-23 and tying the game 2-2. Tensions were high with the Cards and the Roos tied 2-2, and both teams worked hard for the final set to win it all. The Cardinals took the win with a score of 16-14, with a cumulative total of 52 kills, 31 attack errors and 171 attempts.
The Cards played Wells College the same day, where it took home another weekend sweep — 3-0. The first set was won 25-21, where the Cards had 11 kills, three errors and 27 attempts. Wells College put up a fight in the second set keeping the score close. The Cards pulled away, leaving Wells College at 23 points and getting three kills from Darby Collyear, Katie Salphine and Girma. The Cardinals ended with a total of 41 kills, 19 errors and 108 attempts.
Collyear is a first-year player and one of the team’s strong right siders. In the game against Wells College, Collyear had 13 kills out of 41. For Collyear, going from a game where they went to five sets and then going right into a second game was a change.
“That was definitely an adjustment, having to go right into our next game right after that. I think that took us a second to get ready in the moment because we had to be ready to play back to back,” Collyear said. “I feel like we did pretty well with it being a game, right after the next I think we started off playing really great and we finished off just as good so I think we handled that situation pretty well.”
This tournament was a challenge and the team had to focus on the game at hand. “Probably the hardest thing was making sure that we were all staying focused in the moment, making sure that we’re all in the right headspace because in one of the sets, we did go to five sets and I think that with going to five sets like in a game you have to make sure that you’re all locked in and everyone is focused on the set at hand and just focusing on making sure our fundamentals are where they’re supposed to be,” Collyear said.
Head Coach Kelsea Healis was excited to go into this tournament, not only for her team, but to try out new and different lineups.
“I was feeling pretty good about it. I knew it was gonna be a longer weekend but I felt excited for the girls to get to try some new things, kind of try a different lineup, and really start solidifying some things as we’re going into conference play,” Healis said.
For the Cardinals volleyball team, conference play starts Sept. 29 and it will first take on SUNY Brockport. Going from pre-conference play to conference play, Healis would like to try out a few more different line ups this weekend at the Morrisville Tri-Match.
“In regards to my lineup, I want to see a few more things this weekend. But I think we have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to be utilizing, especially with our options and with where our girls play the best. So I’m very excited to go into conference play,” Healis said.
Emma Rivers, a senior and one of the team’s captains, was looking forward to this tournament, she said she believed it was going to be an amazing weekend for the team.
“I was excited. I knew that it was going to be an easier weekend for us. So that gives us more of an opportunity to run more plays, and some faster offense. I had a feeling that we were going to go 3-0 over the weekend which we did so that was exciting,” Rivers said.
For this tournament the game against Canton was the most tiring, not only for the entire team but for Rivers herself. The team played a hard back-and-forth game in five sets.
“The hardest was definitely the Canton game. Because I was getting down on myself a little and, I’m really proud of how we were able to pull through that game and not stay in a rut throughout all five sets. We were all physically tired afterwards,” Rivers said.
At the end of the tournament, Zophy and Girma were named SUNYAC Volleyball Athletes of the Week. This is Girma’s first career weekly honor — she was named Offensive Athlete of the Week for the week ending Sept. 16. Girma averaged 3.80 kills per set and currently leads the team in points with 107.5.
Zophy was named Defensive Athlete of the Week this week, claiming her second weekly honor of the season. Zophy also maintained her SUNYAC lead in digs per set with a record of 5.26.
Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 23, the Cardinals will be traveling to Morrisville, New York, where it will be playing in the Morrisville Tri-Match. It will play SUNY Morrisville at 1 p.m. Right after, it will be taking on Nazareth University at 3 p.m. This will be the last of the non-conference games before SUNYAC play.