While the rest of the UR community celebrated Yellowjacket Weekend, the women’s volleyball team was blocking, killing and digging their way through the Red Dragon Invitational hosted by SUNY Cortland.
On Friday, UR met up against rivals from Vassar College and SUNY Potsdam. In both matches, after losing the first set, the team took control and dominated their games with impeccable plays. Junior outside hitter Casey Larsen had 18 kills between both matches, while middle backs junior Katie Kao and sophomore Alma Guevara, outside hitters freshman Sarah Ribakove and sophomore Kelly Mulrey each made an impressive number of kills against Vassar and Potsdam.But what really put UR over the edge in these matches was their tremendous blocking.
“The team had an overall solid performance on defense this weekend, and strong blocking at the net,” Mulrey said.
And the numbers are further proof. “We … put up great blocks, totaling 17 solo blocks and 32 block assists,” head coach Ladi Iya said.
Saturday, the Yellowjackets knew they were up against tough competition as they faced Lebanon Valley College, the returning champions of the tournament. Mulrey came through with 12 kills and 10 digs and senior captain and defenive specialist Katie Drinkwater had 12 digs throughout the match. While the girls fought to defeat LVC, they could not be beaten and closed with a 0 – 3 finish. Two hours later they walked onto the court versus the host team Cortland, and ended the match with a similar 0 – 3 outcome.
While the record shows split matches, the team finished No. 4 overall in the championship bracket. Also, special recognition was given to sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Bujnicki who was named to the All-Tournament Team for her performance in the matches. For the first matches of the season, the team has accumulated many points of pride. “It was great to see the unconditional support our team displayed this past weekend and the ability for any teammate to step up in a situation and make a positive impact,” Kao said.
But like any successful team they also know that there’s always room for improvement. “We definitely need to improve our ability to make adjustments, implement in-game strategy changes and bring a consistent level of performance,” Iya said.
UR will take what they have been practicing into the UR Invitational this weekend against their local rivals, Roberts Wesleyan College, Medialle College, and SUNY Brockport.
Olfano is a member of the class of 2012.