It has been said that sometimes the best way to snap out of a slump is just to play right through it. The UR women’s volleyball team took that to heart as they hosted the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships last weekend. Coming off a below expectation showing at both the New York State and UAA Championships, the UR women’s volleyball team went into the ECAC Championships with high expectations as the number one overall seed. True to form, the Yellowjackets buzzed past their opponents to finish as ECAC champs for the Upstate Region.

Having a bye for the first round, the Yellowjackets faced a familiar foe in the semifinals: the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons. Neither team was ready to back down, being only one game away from the finals, but the swarm slayed the Red Dragons as UR won 3-1 (29-31, 30-23, 30-17, 30-14). Senior outside hitter Susan Johnson led the attack with 26 kills and 11 digs, while senior setter Samantha Carr did what she does best and tacked on 48 assists, 15 digs and three aces. Andrea Wagonseller contributed with 22 kills and 16 digs to round out the seniors. Not to be left out, sophomore Jessica Rasmussen had 22 digs and talented freshman Dana Hilfinger had five kills and four blocks as the Yellowjackets moved on to the finals. Jessica Ptasnick led the Red Dragons with 22 assists and Caity Welch led her team with 12 kills. Oneonta finished the year 23-17.

After a resounding victory in the semifinals, nothing could stand in the way of the Yellowjackets. With momentum, home court, confidence and history on their side, they took on the Hawks of SUNY New Paltz in the final game of the tournament.

In a rematch of last year’s ECAC Championship game, the Yellowjackets tried to tame the Hawks for the second consecutive season. Despite losing game one 28-30, the Yellowjackets were able to hit their stride and prevailed in a grueling five set match. The final score of the match was 28-30, 30-16, 32-30, 17-30, 15-8.

Johnson, who was named tournament MVP, had 36 kills and 18 digs while Carr had four kills and 26 digs to go along with 54 assists. Wagonseller was also a threat all night, chipping in 22 kills along with 20 digs for the determined seniors. The defense was stellar all around, with 26 digs from Rasmussen and another 20 from junior Katlin Gorczynski. Junior Ariel Edelson also joined the action with six kills.

Senior Kim Clouston led the way for the Hawks with 21 kills and 21 digs, while sophomore Nicole Mercadante finished with 42 digs and freshman Lauren Hogue collected 26 digs for the Hawks. SUNY New Paltz finished 26-12 on the season.

Gorczynski was pleased with the way the Yellowjackets ended the year.

“Everyone worked really hard thoughout the entire season and it really showed by winning ECAC’s,” Gorczynski said. ” It was awesome to be able to send our three amazing seniors off with a win.”

This tournament victory is a fitting cap to a fine season for the Yellowjackets. They finish with a 23-13 record on the year, a 7th place finish in the UAA and a tie for 7th at the New York State tournament.

Wang is a member of the class of 2009.

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