POTSDAM -- The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team battled against a quality non-conference opponent but was defeated 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 to St. Lawrence Tuesday evening at Welsh Gymnasium.
For the fifth time this season, the Bears (3-6) won the first set only to end the match with a loss. Potsdam has won the first set in eight of its nine contests this season.
"I'm proud of our ability to serve tough and stay aggressive both offensively and defensively," Potsdam coach Steve Pike said. "St. Lawrence was a little better out of system ... they earned the win tonight. We went on some good runs, but now we need to tie it together. There's improvement up and down the roster."
After a pair of back-and-forth, exciting sets, the Saints (7-2) ended the third with an 8-2 run to win the pivotal frame.
In the fourth, Potsdam squelched the SLU momentum with a 7-1 run of its own to begin the set. However, the Saints quickly battled back to take a 12-9 advantage, and ended the match on an 8-3 burst after the Bears narrowed the gap to 17-16.
For Potsdam, the match was highlighted by the exciting play of freshman Annie Smith. The Burke, N.Y., native's powerful swing brought fans to their feet and the Bears' bench erupted with every kill.
Smith finished with a team-high 16 kills, her second-highest match total of the season.
"Annie is figuring out how she can bring speed, create angles and just score," Pike said. "She's tweaking little things, and is improving offensively and defensively as a result."
Four players finished with 10 or more digs, including sophomore Jill Dye (Middletown, N.Y.), who had 16. Freshman Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) tallied 32 assists and four service aces. Senior captain Erica Romaniello (Selden, N.Y.) contributed with 14 digs and four aces.
The Bears return to the court this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17-18, at the RIT Tournament. Potsdam opens with Rochester (2 p.m.) and Brockport (4:30 p.m.) on Friday.