The Plattsburgh State volleyball team’s number one priority was teamwork and chemistry as the team opened its season at the Cardinal Classic last weekend.

Last season, the Cardinals had an overall record of 14-17. Out of that record, 2-7 were conference games and 12-10 were non-conference games.

This season there are a large amount of newer players that are still learning the game and changing the team dynamic. However, the new players are also bringing a new life to the court and finding their place on the team.

Head Coach Jake Bluhm explained that because of all the new players on the team, the big focus for this season is bonding as a team and working together on the court.

“It’s definitely an interesting dynamic because there are a lot of freshman and sophomores. It’s a lot of new pieces working together,” Bluhm said. “Considering that there are not a lot of seniors and juniors to follow, they have been doing very well.”

Sophomore outside and right side hitter Hunter Grotjohn also stressed the importance of the team coming together.

“Team bonding has definitely been the most important thing so all the freshman feel welcome,” Grotjohn said. “We’ve been working to play as a team and get closer together, so we all play as one instead of a bunch of separate people doing their own things.”

Another change to the team this season is new Assistant Coach Jordynne Ales, who has been instrumental in the teams conditioning and added a fresh perspective to the program.

“She has been extremely helpful,” Bluhm said. “She is extremely ambitious and I think she is going to do some really great things. She’s still kind of learning the rules of the game in terms of X’s and O’s, but there are a lot behind the scenes responsibilities that she’s excelled at.”

“It’s cool,” said Rachel Mennonna, freshman outside hitter about Assistant Coach Ales joining the coaching staff. “She has played on the team so she knows the team and knows exactly what the team needs firsthand.”

Bluhm says that the two main goals for this season are for the team to work hard and never settle.

“In years past I think we’ve focused on certain goals, like win-loss records and hitting percents, but this year they need to focus on their chemistry,” Bluhm said. “The success will come from that if they continue to hold each other accountable and work as hard as they possibly can.”

Grotjohn and Mennonna hope that the team pushes themselves so that they can win SUNYAC this year.

“It’s the whole team’s dream to make it to SUNYAC,” Grotjohn explained. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, time, and energy, but if all of us work hard and put in the effort we can do it.”

PSUC held the 2017 Best Western Plus-Ground Round Cardinal Classic at Memorial Hall last weekend and split their record 2-2.

Friday the Cards emerged victorious in their first game against SUNY Canton winning 3-2 (23-25, 25-12, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11). However, they were less successful in their game again Plymouth State University losing 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-14).

Saturday they once again split their games, losing 3-0 to Wheaton College (20-25, 16-25, 24-26), before beating the Sage Colleges 3-1 (25-10, 25-18, 24-26, 25-15).

PSUC will next see action in the Cougar Classic tournament hosted by Kean University. The Cards will play both New York University and Scranton university today, and Hood College and Kean University tomorrow.

Email sports at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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