CORTLAND -- The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team came out firing in each of its two matches to open its 2010 season, but suffered losses against Vassar and Rochester Friday at the Cortland Red Dragon Classic.
The Bears began the night with a 18-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20 defeat against Vassar. Hours later, the team lost to Rochester 21-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-14.
Potsdam (0-2) received strong performances from several players and showed it could compete with solid competition.
"We made strides forward, but we still have a ways to go," Potsdam coach Steve Pike said.
"We came out strong, and our blocking and serve receive was our strength in both matches."
Against Vassar (2-1), senior libero Erica Romaniello (Selden, N.Y.) led the Bears defense with 17 digs.
Sophomore middle hitter Anne Fildes (Red Hook, N.Y.) posted six blocks, while freshman middle hitter Annie Smith (Burke, N.Y.) contributed nine kills in her collegiate debut.
Many of the same leaders from the first match emerged against Rochester (2-0). Romaniello totaled 17 digs again, while Fildes tallied seven kills and five blocks. Junior Sam Strader (Watertown, N.Y.) and sophomore Kayla Howard (Marcellus, N.Y.) chipped in with five blocks apiece.
"Anne Fildes was one of our strongest attackers and was very effective," Pike said. "Erica Romaniello was our most consistent passer."
Pike also praised the consistent play of freshman setter Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y.)in her first matches running the Potsdam offense. The Bears continue tournament play today at noon against Baptist Bible.
Potsdam's second match time and opponent are to be determined.