Rejuvenated and energized, the volleyball team began their season with a commanding 8-1 record, second-best among the teams in the University Athletic Association. The Yellowjackets continued their seven-game winning streak last weekend by winning two back-to-back games at the Potsdam State Invitational.
On Friday, UR swept SUNY Plattsburgh with a final score 30-12, 30-21, 30-11. This came as no surprise, especially when senior Susan Johnson killed 21 and dug 19 while senior Sam Carr garnered 37 assists and 19 digs. Juniors Kaitlyn Gorczynski and Ariel Edelson had 12 kills combined to help the pack. Freshman Dana Hilfinger received significant playing time as a newcomer, contributing five kills and four blocks.
Up next, Buffalo State College proved to be a tougher challenge, but was still no match for the ‘Jackets. Johnson continued to dominate the numbers by killing another 20 and digging 10. Carr added 26 assists and an impressive three aces while sophomore Jessica Rasmussen defended skillfully with 13 digs. They defeated Buffalo State with little problem, ending with a 30-18, 30-13, 30-17 score.
“The passing was great and our defense picked up a lot of balls,” Carr said. “We also served extremely aggressively all weekend to keep the other teams off their game.”
UR also swept past SUNY Oswego the next day. Senior Andrea Wagonseller made her presence felt with eight kills, 10 digs and two emphatic blocks. Hilfinger formulated an effective defensive game with four blocks. Rasmussen and Gorczynski dug 11 and 13, respectively, stopping the attacks by the Lakers. Johnson kept attacking with 18 kills while Carr led the team with 28 assists.
Despite the Yellowjacket dominance in the first two games, Oswego stayed tough and tried to rally from their deficit. UR overcame Oswego in a 30-15, 30-19, 32-30 final score.
At the end of the round-robin tournament at Potsdam, the ‘Jackets faced Middlebury College for the crown. To fight this formidable opponent, all players had to defend and attack aggressively. Carr unleashed an unstoppable assault in all parts of the floor. She collected nine kills, 22 digs and 35 assists. Johnson persisted with her normal routine, totaling 19 kills and 17 digs.
Wagonseller also played a great all-around game by grabbing nine kills, 21 digs, and three aces. The ‘Jackets defeated Middlebury, 30-22, 30-23, 30-27.
Due to her impressive performance at the Potsdam tournament, Carr was awarded Most Valuable Player. For the weekend, she totaled 113 assists.
In addition, Johnson was named UAA player of the week after UR’s first four games of the season at the SUNY Cortland Red Dragon Classic. She totaled 85 kills, 74 digs and five blocks, exercising expertise both defensively and offensively.
Johnson attributed the early season success to great teamwork and depth.
“We were able to win all four matches because we really played together as a team,” Johnson said. “Everyone was able to get involved and we were able to use all of our potential.”
The team looks to win at this weekend’s tournament at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“I think we have put ourselves in a really good situation going into the RIT Tournament this weekend,” Johnson said. “We have some things to work on in practice this week, but all in all feel ready to take on some great competition again this weekend.”
Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.