The Cardinals win a point against Potsdam at home Oct. 11.
By Rebekah Riley
The Plattsburgh State women’s volleyball team ended its season after the first round in the SUNYAC playoffs, losing to SUNY Geneseo 0-3 Nov. 7. The Cards have plenty of accomplishments and great moments to remember the season by.
The Cardinals, with a record of 12-13, 3-6, made its first SUNYAC playoffs appearance since 2013. Last year the Cardinals had a record of 7-16, 0-9. This is a huge step for this young team, with 13 underclassmen.
“I think it’s really shifted the dynamic of the team a lot, you know, I think before Plattsburgh was not necessarily seen as a threat in the SUNYAC for volleyball and we’ve definitely shifted that around and we’ve become one of the teams to look out for it, which is really impressive,” middle hitter Katie Salphine said.
Plattsburgh is only going up from here — it’s worked hard this year to make it where they are. The team had five 3-0 wins this season, beating SUNY Morrisville, Hilbert College, Wells College, Vermont State University-Johnson and St. Lawrence University.
“I’m really excited for what the future holds. I feel like we can really be thorough in the SUNYAC, and I feel like it can only go up from here. It gave us the confidence that we needed to recognize that we can do something and like we are here to win and we can win,” outside hitter Maggie Lyon said.
The SUNYAC playoffs gave the team a confidence boost that will be helpful for its next season. However, it’s not projected to have any seniors next season.
“Being able to accomplish that kind of standing with such a young team makes me super excited to see what this team can do in the next year,” setter/right side Kyleigh Ganz said.
Kyleigh Ganz (5) and Jeanette Ashong (14) do one of their favorite celebrations between points against Potsdam Oct. 11.
The team, with a new roster construction, has been bonded like old friends. The team made memories they still look back and laugh at.
“The bus broke down, which was kind of my fault because I hate riding on the buses. I always get carsick. We were outside of Geneseo. I was thinking when I was outside, ‘What would we do? We’re in Geneseo? What would happen if the bus broke down?’ I was like, ‘If we were near Plattsburgh, we could get a ride home or they could get us another bus since the bus is from Vermont.’ Then, when we were about 30 minutes out from Plattsburgh that night, the bus broke down and everyone was like, ‘This is Lily’s fault.’ I was like, ‘How was it my fault?’ Everyone was like, ‘You literally said it was going to happen.’ I was like, ‘I didn’t know,’” defensive specialist Lily White said.
While outside hitter/libero Payton Zophy’s collegiate career may be over, she now holds the record for most digs per set in a single season with a record of 5.57. The last known record for digs per-set in a single season was in 2003 held by Ashley Walters with a record of 4.99.
Zophy also holds the record for most digs in a career with 4.61 digs per set. The last holder of this record was Bryanne Yasui with a record of 4.38.
Zophy is going out with a bang — Zophy was also named to the All-SUNYAC Second Team, she is the first Cardinal volleyball player to receive this honor since 2019.
“I didn’t look at the stats crazy. I didn’t even realize that was kind of a potential, really, but it was just kind of crazy. Feels good. I feel like I went out at the end of this season with a bang and it just felt good to end on a high note for the end of my career,” Zophy said.
Salphine had a major accomplishment of her own, but it wasn’t on the court. She sang the national anthem at every home game this season.
“I was in music in high school. I sang the national anthem for all my games, and my graduation. I’ve sung it a bunch, and I went up to the captains and I was like, you know, ‘Is there any interest in me singing the national anthem?’ They said, ‘yeah’ and up next was the coach and she said ‘definitely,’ and then once they heard me sing, they were like, ‘wow.’ I’m also going to be singing for women’s hockey too,” Salphine said.
The team has bigger goals for next season, and that starts with leadership.
“With the seniors leaving us with big shoes to fill, I’m not sure who’s going to be in that leadership spot. I would love to try and do it. I want to get better,” defensive specialist Bridget Ryan said.
The seniors were a big part of these players’ lives and the juniors will step up into the leadership role.
“Obviously feeling really sad because I think [the seniors] had a really big role and the last two years of making me the player I am right now. I want to lift the incoming class up how they did for me,” middle hitter Jeannette Ashong said.
The Cardinals still have things to work on, but as this team grows, it has high hopes for the future.