The Plattsburgh State volleyball team has turned its season around since starting off with a 0-4 record, they are now tied for third place in the SUNYAC conference with a 7-5 record.

“It builds a lot of confidence,” head coach Jake Bluhm said about winning seven of their last eight games. “As we go forward, the goal for any team is to win, but we also want to continue to play well together.”

The Cardinals hosted the Best Western Plus-Ground Round Cardinal Classic last weekend, and won all three matches. They defeated Elms College, Utica College and Southern Vermont College all in three straight sets to sweep the Cardinal Classic and capture the title.

“It was a great feeling, it’s always nice protect your home court,” junior defensive specialist Jordynne Ales said. “Winning all three in the tournament was definitely a confidence booster and hopefully it will transfer over into next weekend.”

Sophomore outside hitter Sam Colombo was named the Cardinal Classic MVP, while freshman outside hitter Hunter Grotjohn accompanied her on the All-Tournament team.

“Receiving all of this positive feedback sets us up to a good start to another big weekend ahead of us,” Colombo said. “It gave us this relief because we haven’t really had an amazing weekend like that, so it’s definitely a confidence booster for us.”

The Cards have started to trust each other’s play more and are feeding off of the momentum during these nonconference matchups, which has resulted in morale boosting victories.

“Our biggest thing with the nonconference games is that we need to find relationships between the players,” Ales said. “We have a lot of new faces this year, so figuring out how each other play, and working together as a team really has brought us together and brought us some wins.”

PSUC, this weekend will be traveling on the road to square off against its first SUNYAC opponents of the season.

“We had a slow start, but we had some good competition,” Bluhm Said.

“There’s a lot to learn with new people on the court, so we continue to preach what we’ve been saying which is learn to trust each other, continue to push and try to win matches.”

The upcoming SUNYAC conference matchups hold a lot of meaning to the season. The games against Oswego, Potsdam and Fredonia this weekend hold a lot at stake for the Cards.

“The SUNYAC conference is what we really aim to do better in,” Bluhm said. “We need to do the best we can against conference opponents, and the only way to make the SUNYAC tournament is to do well in our conference matches during the season, so we just continue to push our players to understand the importance of the matches against conference opponents.”

Another thing that is important for the Cards this season is how well the new players on the team can mesh with the other members of the team and solidifying themselves into the program by contributing more during practices and enhancing their communication skills with one another.

“I think this group really has the determination to get better,” Colombo said. “We work really well together as a team which really helps us, and everyone is pushing to do their best.”

The Cards will kick off conference play against Oswego State today at 5 p.m. in first day of SUNYAC conference play, hosted by Potsdam.

“A lot of team unity, understanding our opponents and staying diligent in practice is really important for this weekend,” Bluhm said. “I’m most impressed with the demeanor of the whole team on and off the court, they’re really close learning to work with each other and push each other which helps them grow.”

Email Ezra Kachaturian at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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