The SUNY Cortland Red Dragon Classic that took place on Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept 1 saw UR in group stage play against host Cortland as well as University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. UR also faced Nazareth College and Rowan University on Saturday, Sept. 1 after advancing to the Gold Pool. Although UR lost 3-0 (23-25, 18-25, 19-25) against the Red Dragons, UR bounced back and handed Pitt-Bradford its second loss of the tournament, 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-22).
The Red Dragons came out strong against UR in their first game. The ’Jackets attack was led by senior middle blocker Alma Guevara with nine kills. Senior right side hitter Meghan Neff and junior outside hitter Sara Ribakove both chipped in with six kills each while Ribakove also had 10 digs. Senior defensive specialist Lauren Bujnicki matched Ribakove’s dig count with 10 of her own, along with two aces. Sophomore setter Xiaoyi Li and senior outside hitter Kelly Mulrey had eight digs apiece and Li went on to record 25 assists and three aces as well. Although first defeated, the ’Jackets rebounded against Pitt-Bradford.
Bujnicki continued to impress with 16 digs against the panthers, while Ribakove and junior defensive specialist Paige Idziur recorded 11 and nine, respectively. Mulrey led the squad with seven kills, followed by Guevara and Benton — both with six kills each. The win propelled them into the Gold Pool where they met Nazareth College and Rowan University.
A dramatic come from behind victory against Nazareth 3-2 (22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-11), and a 3-0 sweep of Rowan (25-13, 25-19, 25-18) secured the ’Jackets the Gold Pool win. UR’s first round opponent, Cortland, went on to win the Championship Pool earning their 17th Red Dragon Classic Title.
UR faced a great challenge after losing its first two sets to Nazareth, but Li and Bujnicki led the comeback and were named to the All-Tournament Team. Li had 53 assists, 10 digs and two block assists while Bujnicki had a 23 dig performance. Ribakove also gave an impressive defensive performance, with 14 digs and two block assists, and Savannah Benton who had five block assists.
Riding a wave of confidence from this stellar victory, UR went into their second Gold Pool match looking for a win against Rowan.
Li provided 24 assists and four aces while fellow All-Tournament Team member Bujnicki supplied twelve digs. Neff had nine kills, one solo block, and two block assists in the victory. Guevara notched 10 kills, and Ribakove had nine kills and 11 digs.
UR sees its first home action Friday, Sept. 7 when it hosts the UR Volleyball Invitational.
Gauthier is a member of the class of 2014.