Though their season is young, the women’s volleyball team has wasted no time rounding into October shape.
The Yellowjackets roared to a 2-0 start this past Friday, expelling the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils (25-22, 14-25, 25-22, 25-14) and staging a come-from-behind victory over Lebanon Valley College (13-25, 25-20, 25-20, 26-24) in the opening rounds of the SUNY Cortland Red Dragon Invitational.
Veterans paced the UR effort throughout the tournament. In the first-round battle with SUNY Fredonia, juniors Meghan Neff and Alma Guevara and senior Casey Larsen combined for 26 kills, while junior Lauren Bujnicki (17 digs) and sophomore Sarah Ribakove (14 digs, three aces) always seemed to find a way to keep the ball off the ground. Freshman Xiaoyi Li melded perfectly with the ‘Jackets in her first college match, supplying an additional 13 digs.
Guevara and Larsen provided the firepower twice that day, as each tallied double-digit kills to jumpstart the ‘Jackets in their win over Lebanon Valley College. Sophomores Savannah Benton (seven kills, six blocks) and Jackie Fluegel (17 assists) provided more than enough support to ensure UR’s berth in the championship pool the following day.
Unfortunately, it was in the championship pool that the women finally met their match. Up against a formidable Skidmore College squad, the ‘Jackets dueled the Thoroughbreds for five grueling sets. After splitting the first four (25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25), the women began to run out of gas, suffering a narrow 11-15 loss in the fifth set to relinquish their hopes of a run at the championship title.
Larsen, Benton and Guevara made their presence known, though, compiling a total of 29 kills. Bujnicki, Mulrey and freshman Hadley Brown each contributed 13 digs to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.
In the third-place consolation game against Nazareth College, UR quickly found itself in an 0-2 hole (16-25, 19-25), but with the help of Larsen (17 kills, 19 digs) and Bujnicki (17 digs) the ‘Jackets rebounded with wins of 25-15, 25-20 and 15-11.
Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.