By Rebekah Riley
The Cardinals traveled to Morrisville, New York to play in the Morrisville Tri-Match Sept. 22. It faced the Morrisville Mustangs and Nazareth University Golden Flyers, dropping both games.
The Cardinals first took on Nazareth, where it played a total of four sets. In the first set, the Cards lost 19-25, but they came in the second set winning 25-22. The Golden Flyers took down the Cardinals in both the third and fourth set, winning 25-22 both times.
The Cardinals played hard in this match. Statistical leaders from the game include Darby Collyear with 12 kills; tying for aces are Emma Rivers, Jeannette Ashong and Katie Rachwal with two each; tying for blocks was Ashong and Collyear with three each; Rivers led with 19 assists; and Payton Zophy had a total of 22 digs.
After the loss to the Golden Flyers, the Cards went on to challenge the hosting Mustangs. The game started off with a 26-24 win for the Cardinals. The momentum was short lived, as the Cards fell to the fast moves of the Mustangs, losing 22-25 in the second and 21-25 in the third set. The Cards had hope and came back in the fourth set, winning 25-22. Ultimately, it lost in the fifth set with a score of 13-25.
Liya Girma led the team with 17 kills, Rivers led the team with three aces, Ashong led with four blocks, Kyleigh Ganz had a total of 19 assists and Girma had a total of 19 digs.
According to Ganz, this game was different from the other teams they have already played.
“I think we saw some competition that we hadn’t seen before in terms of competition and speed. I thought we handled ourselves very well given the circumstances, it was really nice to see those kinds of competitive teams before heading into SUNYAC play this weekend,” Ganz said.
This team has had a great start to the season and the first-years bring a lot to the court.
“I think they bring more to the table and they are a lot of fun to have. They’re really hard workers, and we are a very young team,” Ganz said.
Ganz went on to compliment her teammate Zophy, and said she and her teammates can have fun when playing, and it leads to playing well together.
“In general, Payton was amazing. I’m sure we all saw the stats, and that makes my job 10 times easier. Knowing that my teammates are working just as hard as I am makes the game more fun and a lot better,” Ganz said.
Ashong is one of the strongest middles the team has. Ashong averages 2.75 defensive points per game. At the Morrisville Tri-Match, Ashong had a total of 14 kills, and earned 19.5 points from the tournament. According to Ashong, the team has connected really well.
“Right off the bat, you form connections, and I think that’s really important for a team to do. We’re not just teammates, we are friends. So I think that’s a really good factor,” Ashong said.
Ashong also had ideas on how the team can improve.
“I feel like we could have anticipated more. I think we did very well. We just haven’t played that many fast teams yet. We are getting used to that,” Ashong said.
The Cards are about to start conference play, and Ashong is looking forward to it “I’m really excited for conference play, because last year we didn’t do as good as we could have, so I’m really excited to go back and be better,” Ashong said.
Head Coach Kelsea Healis has been with the Cardinals for three years now, but before Plattsburgh, she worked with the Geneseo Knights.
“I’m always excited to play teams that I used to be a part of because it’s definitely a more connected game I feel more involved with. It’s nice to see the girls that I’ve worked with progress, but then also to see the girls that I’m working with now go up against it,” Healis said.
Last weekend, the Cards saw some good competition from both teams. It helped them to know what’s coming up in the SUNYAC.
“I felt we saw some good competition, especially with Nazareth. That is why I wanted to go to this tournament and I felt like it would be a good weekend before going into conference play. I think Morrisville came out a lot stronger than we had expected them to, especially with having beaten them in three last time and low in regards to numbers,” Healis said.
This team still has room for improvement, and the team knows that after this past weekend.
“[We need to improve on] making sure our positioning is a little more consistent in regards with our ball placement on offense, and our defense positioning along with our block,” Healis said.
The Cards kick off its SUNYAC games, tonight, Friday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. It will make the trip to Brockport to take on the Golden Eagles, and then the Cards will be taking on the Geneseo Knight, Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. in Geneseo.