The ‘Jackets split at Saturday’s Dig Pink volleyball event. The day featured three matches between UR, the SUNY Geneseo Knights and the SUNY Potsdam Bears, each team playing another one time.

The ‘Jackets started off strong in a 3-1 victory over Geneseo but later came up short against Potsdam in a 0-3 loss.

In the spirit of Dig Pink, all of the proceeds from the event were donated to breast cancer treatment and research. Some of those in attendance wore pink shirts or bows to show their support in the effort against breast cancer.

The volleyball players from all three teams also wore pink bows in their hair. There was a fair turnout of parents and family members at the event.

From the opening serve, UR looked to set a tone of aggression and dominance over Geneseo. The ‘Jackets had the lead for the majority of the first game. Geneseo tried to put up a final effort by scoring three successive points toward the end, but UR was able to close the game, 25-14.

The second game was another reflection of the ‘Jackets’ aggression in the matchup.

Sophomore libero Tayler Schweigel started the second game with an early service ace. Later, senior outside hitter Jessica Rasmussen scored a service ace that gave UR more momentum. Thanks to intrusive play and timely digs by Schweigel, UR edged Geneseo, 25-23, in the second game.

The third game was far more competitive and testing for the Yellowjackets. Geneseo’s Jessie Stephenson and Jess McKenna both came off strong and led their team with eight kills apiece. After a neck-and-neck battle, Geneseo managed to stretch the match to a fourth game, edging the ‘Jackets with a 26-24 victory.

In game four, UR went back to what worked. Both Rasmussen and Schweigel added additional service aces to their stats. Sophomore outside hitter Allyson Blair helped close the curtain on the Knights, tallying six kills in the win.

The ‘Jackets controlled the match with a dominating style of play throughout. Freshman middle hitter Katie Kao, who averages 1.11 kills per game this season, scored nine kills in the match against Geneseo. Junior outside hitter Emily Hunter also came up strong with nine kills of her own. Sophomore setter Maura Hamilton stepped up in the setting position, logging 36 assists.

‘Against Geneseo, our serving was extremely aggressive, so we were able to get them out of system,” head coach Ladi Iya said. ‘We had 11 team aces four by Tayler Schweigel, three by Jess Rasmussen and three by Katie Drinkwater.”

In the matchup against Potsdam, the roles shifted.

This time, the ‘Jackets succumbed to their opponents’ aggression. Potsdam, who had just defeated Geneseo, used that momentum to upend the Yellowjackets, 3-0.

The Bears quickly gained a lead, and the ‘Jackets often found themselves fighting to make a comeback.

Hitters Sammie Pickering and Kim Plummer led the attack for Potsdam with a combined 21 kills.

Although the ‘Jackets trailed most of the way, Kao and Rasmussen tried to keep the team in the game. Kao finished with five blocks and eight kills, while Rasmussen finished with four blocks and nine kills. Hamilton engineered the offense, logging 30 assists and 16 digs for the Yellowjackets.

But the Bears still came out on top in three games with scores of 25-22, 25-23 and 25-16.

‘Potsdam is a good attacking team, and we had some problems with our defensive game, which is usually our strong point,” Iya said. ‘We also made some attacking errors, which limited our opportunities to score.”

UR entered the weekend coming off of a 3-0 victory over Keuka College, where Rasmussen and Hamilton led the team with 11 kills and 24 assists, respectively.

Last night, UR faced Nazareth College on Senior Night. Nazareth won in three games with scores of 22-25, 18-25 and 22-25.

The ‘Jackets had an early 9-3 lead in the first game. But after several critical errors, Nazareth was able to come from behind and defeat the ‘Jackets. In the succeeding games, Nazareth led most of the way, while UR struggled to stay in the game.

UR’s two seniors led the team in the loss. Rasmussen had four kills and 14 digs, while setter Kate Lewis commanded the offense with 10 assists.

Hunter and Kao each tallied four kills, and Schweigel chipped in with 14 digs.

The split pushed the ‘Jackets’ record to 10-20. This weekend, they will travel to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to compete in the Vassar Tournament, which will feature a host of competitive regional teams.

They will conclude their regular season the following weekend when they travel to compete in the University Athletic Association Championships, hosted by Washington University in St. Louis.

Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.

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