After a strong win against Nazareth College on Senior Night, the Rochester volleyball team went on to place fifth out of 12 teams in the New York State Championship Tournament.

As the final game in the Palestra for the three Yellowjacket seniors, the 3-1 win against Nazareth was memorable. Senior Grace Kraay had 16 digs and one assist, and fellow senior Kristin Vogt had 12 kills and one block. Senior and current career assist record holder Liz Loveless had 50 assists, 20 digs, four kills and three aces. Junior Haley Massa, sophomore Susan Johnson and junior Kate Czarniak added 15, 14 and 11 kills, respectively. The win brought Rochester’s record to 19-9 heading into the New York State Championship Tournament.

“Heading into this weekend, we were coming off of a huge win over Naz that really boosted our morale as a team,” Massa said. “We were able to use that confidence in the tournament and come away with a fifth-place standing.”

In their third straight appearance in the State Tournament, Rochester headed to SUNY Cortland this past weekend. On Saturday, the Yellowjackets first squared off against No. 11 SUNY Fredonia.

Reminiscent of a 3-0 victory against the Blue Devils less than two weeks earlier, Rochester once again defeated Fredonia 30-24, 30-17 and 30-22. Loveless had 43 assists. Massa, Vogt and Johnson all contributed with 11 kills and Czarniak added 10 kills.

The Yellowjackets’ victory not only advanced them to the quarterfinals, but it was their second consecutive season of 20 or more victories. Using the momentum from the afternoon, Rochester went on to face No. 3 Ithaca College later that evening.

In four very close games, almost pushing the match to five games, Rochester lost to Ithaca 27-30, 29-31, 30-26, 31-33. Rochester fought hard against the Bombers, with Massa matching her career high of 18 kills. Vogt and Johnson added 14 and 23 kills, respectively. Loveless had 63 assists.

On Sunday, Rochester went on to earn fifth place at the State Tournament with a 3-0 win over SUNY Brockport.

The Yellowjackets are now looking forward to the UAA Championship at Emory University this weekend.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Vogt added. “Not many teams have the opportunity to see the kind of competition that we see in our conference.”

The UAA conference is packed with talented teams. With only a few practices before heading down to Atlanta, Rochester is now preparing to face some of the toughest competition in the country.

“Our advantage this weekend is that we’re the underdogs,” Vogt said. “We aren’t ranked nationally, so there’s no pressure. We can just play our game and see what it is that we’re capable of.”

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