With conference volleyball schedules ushered in on Friday, this part of the season offers a time for teams to earn their seeding in the SUNYAC Championships that begin on the second weekend of November.
It was a promising start for SUNY Potsdam as the Bears made short work of Oneonta State by picking up the sweep (26-24.25-15, 25-21) on the first day of SUNYAC pool play at SUNY Cortland.
The Bears (7-9 overall, 1-0 SUNYAC) came out firing from the service line and didn't let up as the team totaled a combined 11 aces. Potsdam spread it around with five different Bears registering at least one ace.
"We were hot from the service line," said first-year Potsdam coach Josh Stokes.
"We've been stressing in practice on getting tougher on serves. We attacked them. We visualized where they were going to be and our servers did a great job of listening for our direction. From there, we took advantage when we could."
A bugaboo for Potsdam this season had been their amount of unforced errors. On Friday, the Bears made the necessary adjustments and showcased a stark improvement in that area.
With Potsdam playing much more sound in getting the ball back over the net, it laid the pressure squarely onto the Red Dragons (8-9, 0-1), who were unable to rally.
"We did a great job of error management," coach Stokes said. "We kept our errors under 20. That's a huge leap for us because we've averaging like 45 errors a match. We're looking to maintain that."
Senior setter/right side Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y. / C. W. Baker) provided another consistent outing with 13 assists, 10 digs, nine kills and three aces.
Senior setter Lauren Manzo (Clovis, Calif. / San Joaquin) backed up her with 10 assists, six digs and four aces.
Further, the Bears' offense produced a balanced offensive attack as Liza Fields (Duanesburg, N.Y. Duaneburg), Sara Anderson (Lake George, N.Y. / Lake George) and Dakota Pruiss (Wallkill, N.Y. / Wallkill) had six kills apiece.
Potsdam will continue SUNYAC pool play on Saturday at SUNY Cortland against the host Red Dragons at 10 a.m. and then will play Oswego State at 12:30 p.m. Both are conference matches.