By Melanie Lanzo
This past weekend, the Plattsburgh Cardinals volleyball team left their mark as the only unbeaten team that competed in the Plattsburgh State Classic. Not only did it get the first win of its season, but it topped it off by sweeping two other teams and ending with a 3-3 overall record. The Cardinals’ next games are Sept 16 and Sept 17 at the Union/Russell Sage Crosstown Challenge starting at 6 p.m.
The first win took place on Sept 9 against Northern Vermont University. Set one started with junior Emma Rivers serving. Right off the bat, the Cardinals gained five points due to Rivers’ aces. It continued until the Badgers scored its first point, when Max Ludlow killed and brought the score to 1-6. The Badgers were not able to catch up in time, and Plattsburgh senior Jenn Braun put the Cardinals up 17-10. The Cards’ dynamic was on display, as it worked together for this win.
“As a team, we like to have a group discussion about how we want the game to go and little things to say to each other about what we noticed as far as where we should be on defense or where we should look to hit on offense,” freshman Sanaia Estime said. Braun led the women to a win for the first set with her solo blocking.The final score was 25-16.
Set two was more competitive as NVU started to step up, earning a 4-0 lead within the first few minutes. Maggie Lyon, Payton Zophy and Braun created good game play as outside hitter, setter and middle respectively. Multiple served aces accumulated points and a kill by Braun put the score to 14-12.
The third set was less competitive as Plattsburgh won strongly. The Cardinals started 4-0, with the help of Estime’s two kills. Plattsburgh kept this early momentum, building a 24-19 lead. NVU started to pick up the pace and scored two points, but it wasn’t enough. The Cardinals took the win with a score of 21-25.
“Going into this game we took into consideration the fact that we had already beaten SUNY Poly and Johnson in the past season, and this really pushed us to want to win once again,” Shannon Fitzpatrick said.
Plattsburgh’s next match came against SUNY Poly. Set one started and the Cardinals had the lead. Plattsburgh had two points from an attack error and an ace when Poly senior Emma Draper registered a kill. Poly’s momentum ended soon when the Cardinals set themselves up for six straight points and soon, the score was 8-1. The Cardinals won the first set with a score of 25-9.
Going into set two, Madison Bolinger subbed in, ready for play. The beginning of the set started out rough for Plattsburgh, as Poly went on a score streak, totaling 5-1 putting them in the lead. Andraya Warner-Davis and Braun turned things around, with multiple service aces and kills, and the Cardinals regained the lead with five points consecutively. The final score of set two was 25-19. The Cardinals took the victory home, in set three with a score of 25-10.
Madison Bolinger led the back sets with eight digs. Setter Rivers and Kyleigh Ganz finished with a total of 29 assists.
Plattsburgh’s final opponent on the day was Elmira. Elmira started off strong with a 5-1 lead, but then the teams kept trading points.
“I never doubted us,” Braun said. “I believed we had the mental strength to be able to push through the last three sets in order to win. It’s always a little scary when the sets are 0-2, but it’s up to us to bring ourselves back up and we proved that we are capable of that.”
The Cardinals started to fall behind and soon Elmira had a 15-9 advantage. Freshman Jeannette Ashong and Zophy flipped the first set scores around with their blocks and assists, putting the Cardinals five-point streak. Elmira won the first set with a score of 25-22.
The second and third sets were make or break for the Cardinals. Elmira took the win in the second set with a score of 25-19. It looked like a losing game, but the Cardinals turned that around in the third set, winning with a score of 25-21.
The game got intense in the fourth set as the Cardinals led with a score of 10-6. Then, Elmira jumped in the lead after multiple blocks and brought the score to 11-10. Plattsburgh won the fourth set by a score of 25-18, leaving the game up to the fifth set. The Cardinals won the final set with a score of 15-10.
“During our second game yesterday, I did start to get worried because we were not playing the best and it was looking more like we were about to lose the game since we were down two sets to zero and the chances of us coming back three sets in a row were pretty low. But we all fought and kept playing which is why we were able to beat those odds to defeat Elmira,” Estime said.