The Cardinals reconvene after a won point against the Potsdam Bears at home Oct. 11. The Cards have won 2-3 home conference games this year, an improvement from 0-4 last season.
Liya Girma (4) is blocked by two Potsdam defenders during a 3-1 win Oct. 11. Girma, a first-year player, has been a significant part of the offense, leading the team in kills with 157.
By Rebekah Riley
The Plattsburgh Cardinals volleyball team hosted its first home games in over 30 days, playing the Oswego Lakers Friday, Oct. 6. The Cardinals won in four sets, 3-1 earning its first SUNYAC win. The Cards hosted the Cortland Red Dragons and lost in 3 sets, Saturday, Oct. 7.
The Lakers won the first set 25-19 in a tough, back and forth game. The Cardinals brought the score to 18-19, but four straight Lakers points secured the win.
The Cards won the second set 25-21. Plattsburgh was strong right off the bat with a kill from senior Emma Rivers, setting the tone for a dominant set.
The third set, the Cards won again 25-17. The Cards started out with two kills, one from sophomore Jeanette Ashong and another from first-year Darby Collyear. The Lakers had an attack error and the Cards led the set 3-0. However, the Lakers fought back and matched the Cards 3-3. First-year Iris Mulvey had three kills on the way to an 11-10 lead. The Lakers scored two points before the Cards came back with four points, two of them from errors made by the Lakers and the other two points were a kill each from sophomores Maggie Lyon and Ashong. The Lakers were only able to squeeze in three more points before the Cardinals closed them out.
The Cardinals won the fourth set 25-18. The Cards started with three points, two of them were errors made by the Lakers and then the third point was from a kill from first-year Liya Girma. The Lakers scored once before the Cards one-upped them by scoring five points, with a kill from Collyear and two kills from Lyon, then two aces from Girma. The score was 8-1. From there, the game was tit-for-tat, and the Cards pulled out another win.
The Cardinals’ success was not matched the following day. The Red Dragons won the first set 25-22. The Cards were behind the Red Dragons from the beginning. The Cards fought to stay close, and it did, but it never matched the score the Red Dragons put up.
The second set, the Cardinals were thrown off its game when the Red Dragons came out guns blazing, winning the set 25-10.
The third set, the Red Dragons put an end to the game, winning 25-12.
Playing at home for the first time this conference season, the Cardinals used the crowd to its advantage.
“It definitely does help. Knowing we are playing on our own court, because it is a space that we are always in, it’s a place that we’re comfortable. But I still think that we also do a good job playing away games,” Collyear said.
The game against Cortland was not only a tough physical game, but also a big mental challenge for the team.
“I think it was a really big mental game, because we went in knowing that we were a great team and it was gonna be a good competition. For the first set, we fought really hard and we saw what we could do, and how great we can play against them. But it was like each mistake we would kind of dwell on, so it was hard to get that out of our head,” Ashong said.
Head Coach Kelsea Healis knows what to take away from the loss.
“They are a scrappy team so I think our offense not being able to find the court was one of our weaknesses of that day” Healis said.
The Cards beat the Potsdam Bears 3-1 Wednesday, Oct. 11. Next, Plattsburgh will be playing the non-conference Vermont State University-Johnson Tuesday, Oct. 17. Having games in the middle of the week is something the team hasn’t done yet this year.
“I don’t think we’ve had a game in the middle of the week. We’re gonna have classes and stuff and then we’ll have a game. I don’t think it should change anything like how we play,” Collyear said.
The game against Vermont State University-Johnson is not a SUNYAC game, and with less pressure, the team can use the game to learn.
“I feel like because it’s not a conference game, it’ll be nice to play more comfortably without having the fear of making mistakes, but still playing to the best of our abilities.” Ashong said.
Healis agreed, saying it will help with SUNYAC games going forward.
“It gives us a chance to try out a few things that we’re seeing during conference play, but we don’t want to risk it during conference play to make a chance or to see some differences, so it’s nice to have that opportunity,” Healis said.
The Cards will be on the road again, and back to conference play, taking on the Red Dragons of Oneonta Friday, Oct. 20. Then, the Cardinals will play the New Paltz Hawks Saturday, Oct. 21.