BUFFALO, N.Y. – The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team (23-15) opened the SUNYAC Championship tournament with a 3-1 win over Oneonta State (21-13) before dropping their second contest of the evening to Fredonia (19-15), 3-0.
“I am very happy for our program,” said Head Coach Steve Pike. “We battled and fought together as a team. Overall, I thought our serve receive was the key to the game and it kept us in system.”
Oneonta rushed out to an early 8-3 lead in the first set as Potsdam struggled to find a rhythm. Junior setter Jenna Blujus calmed the Bears as she served to a 13-13 tie. Potsdam rallied behind their reliable setter and closed out the game 25-22.
The Red Dragons pulled away from the Bears once again in the beginning of the second set with a 9-2 lead. Potsdam closed the gap with a late rally by senior middle hitter Anne Fildes but Oneonta was able to halt the charge and claim the set, 25-20.
The third and fourth games were very different as the Bears garnered some momentum from junior middle hitter Sara Anderson, Fildes, and Blujus. Anderson's serve generated a large lead for Potsdam in the third set securing the 25-21 victory. Blujus's serve sparked the Bears in the fourth game as she fueled an 8-0 run late in the set for the 28-26 win. Anderson led the Bears attack with 16 kills and freshman outside hitter Rachel Auerbach followed with 11. Blujus totaled 38 assists. Senior libero Jill Dye finished with 15 digs.
“I thought Dakota Pruiss, Gabby Arana and Jill Dye did a good job in the serve receive. Allie Romaniello came in and passed well when we needed her to. It was great for Dakota to come back from injury and do very well on defense and serve receive. It was a great team effort.”
The Bears faced a tough Fredonia team in the second contest of the night. Potsdam struggled against the Blue Devils serve. Fredonia was able to keep the Bears out of system for the match winning in three sets, 25-15, 26-24, and 25-18. Anderson finished with six kills. Blujus totaled 15 assists and 10 digs to lead the Bears.
“We kept fighting even though we were not executing in serve receive,” said Pike. “You have to give Fredonia credit for serving tough and not committing errors. We were out of system but I am happy with the way our players kept fighting.”
The Bears look to continue post-season play as they await word on an ECAC bid.