The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team picked up a pair of victories in contrasting fashions as the Bears swept Norwich University and followed with a thrilling five-set victory against Plattsburgh State on the opening day of the Victory Promotions Invitational at Maxcy Field House on Friday.
Potsdam (4-3) opened extremely efficient in producing a team total of 37 kills to just five errors in dispatching of Norwich 25-10, 25-15, 25-7.
Senior middle hitter Sara Anderson (Lake George, N.Y. /Lake George) led the Bears with a team-high 11 kills while senior Jenna Blujus (Baldwinville, N.Y. / C.W. Baker) was her usual steady self with 15 assists, seven aces and six kills.
Senior Lauren Manzo (Clovis, Calif. /San Joaquin) set up the offense with 17 assists, junior Gabby Arana (Willison Park, N.Y. /Herricks) contributed 12 digs and junior outside hitter Liza Fields (Duanesburg, N.Y. /Duaneburg) demonstrated her penchant for an all-around game with eight kills and eight digs.
The Cadets dropped to 0-2.
In the nightcap, Potsdam fell down a set before battling back for a 20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 24-26, 15-9 triumph over SUNYAC rival Plattsburgh.
Although it was match that did not count toward the conference standings, it had the makings of a nip-and-tuck conference test.
"Plattsburgh showed a lot of heart," said first-year Potsdam coach Josh Stokes. "They lost two girls in the game. One busted her ankle and one busted her knee. They fought and fought."
But, it was Bears' junior outside hitter Tia Wright (Vestal, N.Y. /Vestal) who came up with the big play when she went up and made a huge swing for a crucial point during the fifth set.
That play compounded with a tighter defensive effort turned it around for Potsdam.
"Hats off to our defense," Stokes said. "We didn't allow the other team to score when they needed to. A lot of good things are happening right now."
An added glowing endorsement went out to the improving Bears' offense and the leadership of Jenna Blujus.
"We learned that our offense can score," Stokes said. "We need to continue to build that confidence in our ability to score. Jenna had 25 assists, 18 digs, 17 kills and hit 50 percent for that match. She got a triple double. What more can you ask out of a senior, veteran player?"
Stokes also pointed to the improved play of junior Sharon Ofori (Bronx, N.Y. /John F. Kennedy) who planted a ball for a ground-thumping kill. She wound up with nine kills.
Manzo had 16 assists and 12 digs, Anderson put down 10 kills and Arana finished with 25 digs. Fields had 13 digs and six kills.
The Cardinals dropped to 1-4 on the season.
Potsdam will continue play in the Victory Promotions Invitational Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. against SUNY Canton and will also meet Saint Michael's at approximately 3 p.m. at Maxcy Field House.
Victory Promotions Invitational
Clarkson d. Southern Vermont 25-13, 25-9, 25-4
Southern Vermont d. Norwich 25-16, 26-24, 17-25, 23-25, 15-10
Queen's University d. Plattsburgh 25-17, 22-25, 25-14, 25-22
Clarkson d. Queen's University 20-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-13