Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cards struggle in SUNYAC play

The Plattsburgh State volleyball team struggled out of the gate in its first taste of SUNYAC action, dropping all three matches last weekend.

The Cardinals looked to be getting an easy win Friday night, winning the first two sets of their match against Potsdam before losing the next three.

“We played well enough in the first two sets to take them, but then they picked up their game, and we didn’t respond,” Bluhm said. “They played a lot better, and we didn’t answer. We tried to coast through, and that isn’t going to work, especially in SUNYACs.”

PSUC took the first two sets 25-20 and 25-19 before the Bears stormed back from the brink and took the match.

Saturday saw the Cards lose to both Geneseo and New Paltz, with both games ending 3-1.

Both matches saw some close sets, with the match against New Paltz staying fairly even until the third set.

Bluhm was happy with some of the progress made Saturday, even if his team couldn’t put anything in the wins column.

“We didn’t come away with wins Saturday, but I think we actually played very well against two of the better teams in the conference,” Bluhm said. “We played with a lot of heart. We’re definitely doing good things. As a young group, we just need to find a way to do them more consistently.”

Freshman middle hitter and right side Michelle Simmons agreed with her coach, also citing her team’s inconsistency as an issue.

“We need to always keep pushing,” Simmons said. “If we get on a run, we need to keep a more consistent pace going.”

The injury bug has not been kind to PSUC so far this season, and the injury to freshman setter Alyssa Rock has been particularly challenging to deal with. Sophomore right side Brianna Coon has filled in for Rock the last few matches.

“That injury is to a pretty key position on the floor being the setter,” Bluhm said.

“Who we have setting now (Coon), she’s doing a good job, but she’s never really done it in competitive play before this weekend. Getting a lot of repetitions with her and continuing to work on finding her hitters and connections has been a focus.”

Coon has embraced the challenge, with support from her teammates.

“It’s been nerve-wracking, especially since I’ve never set before,” Coon said. “My teammates have been really helpful and supportive, and I think that that’s really helped me adjust to the new position.”

This weekend PSUC will take a break from conference play while taking part in the Canton Classic against Elmira, Cazenovia and Wells College.

The team is looking to use this as time to get back on track in play that won’t affect its conference standing.

“We’ve been working on running some plays with the setter,” Simmons said. “We’re going to work hard to play as best as we can and prepare for SUNYAC play the next weekend.”

“It’s a good opportunity just to get on the court and play some good teams,” Bluhm said. “We’ll see what we need to work on going into the next SUNYAC weekend.”


Email Ben Watson at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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