The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team split a pair of matches in pool play at Buffalo State on Saturday and solidified their spot into the SUNYAC Tournament.
With a 5-4 SUNYAC record, Potsdam (13-14 overall) clinches the fifth seed in the SUNYAC Tournament. The Bears will face No. 4 Plattsburgh (13-13 overall) in the first round at top-seeded New Paltz on Friday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.
Potsdam and Plattsburgh split a pair of head-to-head meetings this season with the Bears taking the first encounter in five sets on Sept. 6 during the Victory Promotions Invitational. The Cardinals bounced back with a five-set victory of its own by winning on Oct. 12.
"I'm really happy that the girls came out against Brockport and got that win to keep us in there and give us that extra boost of confidence," said Potsdam head volleyball coach Josh Stokes. "I'm looking forward to a great battle with Plattsburgh. It should make for an emotional match with both earlier matches going five [sets] this season."
In the early match on Saturday, Potsdam lost to a streaking New Paltz team in four sets (25-15, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20). The Hawks (27-5 overall, 9-0 SUNYAC) have been red hot, extending its winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. In the process, it also clinched the top seed and home court advantage for the SUNYAC Tournament.
The Bears fought valiantly, however, by taking the third set in a squeaker.
Senior setter Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y. / Baldwinsville) led with 24 digs, 12 kills, five assists and two blocks. Junior outside hitter Liza Fields (Duanesburg, N.Y. / Duanesburg) had 13 digs, 11 kills and three blocks. Senior outside hitter Dakota Pruiss (Wallkill, N.Y. / Wallkill) tallied 19 digs and eight kills.
A few Bears hit personal milestone achievements for the season. Senior middle hitter Sara Anderson (Lake George, N.Y. / Lake George) tied a single-game season-best with six blocks and added seven kills. Junior libero Gabby Arana (Williston Park, N.Y. / Herricks) also set a new single-game season-high with 34 digs. Senior setter Lauren Manzo (Clovis, Calif. / San Joaquin) set a new high in assists in a match with 33.
"It's great that our players keep bettering themselves and keep finding success," Stokes added. 'We're not making it easy for other teams to score on us so that's been a big key for us."
In the later match, Potsdam got back on the winning side by knocking off Brockport 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14.
Anderson was extremely efficient by racking up 13 kills against no errors on 19 total attacks for a staggering .684 hitting percentage.
Pruiss chalked up another productive match by picking up 14 digs, 11 kills, three aces and three blocks. Manzo equaled her largest output for assists in a match with 33 and also added 14 digs. Blujus had 19 digs, nine kills and three blocks. Fields chipped in with eight kills and eight digs.
Potsdam will continue its regular season non-conference schedule with a match at St. Lawrence on Wednesday at 7 p.m