September 28, 2011
Showdown goes to Dragons
Cortland sweeps past visiting Clarkson in clash of unbeatens
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Katie Wick (3) of SUNY Cortland hits the ball past Rachel Simons (14) and Lani Durio (right) of Clarkson Tuesday night at Corey Gym.
After winning the opening set in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, this showdown of volleyball unbeatens became a lot easier for SUNY Cortland women on Tuesday night.
A point away from dropping that opening set when visiting Clarkson went ahead 24-20, the Red Dragons recovered before a boisterous Corey Gymnasium crowd and went on to sweep the match in convincing 31-29, 25-16, 25-9 fashion.
The 19th nationally-ranked Red Dragons (18-0) and Golden Knights (17-1) entered the evening as two of only seven undefeated teams nationally in Division III along with Springfield College (Mass.), Calvin (Mich.), Washington (Mo.), McMurry (Tex.) and Pine Manor (Mass.).
The 18-0 start to this season for Coach Pam Hoerup’s squad — Hoerup fresh from her 200th win as the Red Dragons coach achieved this past weekend at the SUNY Athletic Conference East Division pool play tournament — is the best in Cortland school history.
Three seniors were key to this Cortland success, starting with Ashley Coyle who collected 11 kills at the net to go along with six digs and two blocks. Sheena Asibey totaled nine kills and three blocks, while Kaitlyn Cooper added six kills and a team-high five blocks.
Also for the Red Dragons, sophomore Aubrey Barrett registered five kills, four blocks and nine digs and junior setter Kristen Guercio had 30 assists and six digs. Junior Katie Wick out of Homer Central and and senior Jaclyn Lawrence finished with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
Senior Sara Artus led Clarkson with 13 kills. Sophomore Lani Durio recorded 25 assists and 10 digs and sophomore Erika Chin added 15 digs and two aces.
The first set featured 14 ties. Clarkson used a 5-1 run, including three Artus kills, to turn a 19-19 tie into a 24-20 lead. Cortland, however, fought off four straight Clarkson set points on a service error, a Wick ace, a combined block by Coyle and Cooper, and a Cooper kill following a long rally to tie the set at 24-24.
With Cortland up 25-24, Clarkson staved off the first of what ended up being four Cortland set points. The Golden Knights then took a 29-28 lead on a Cortland attack that went wide, but the Red Dragons scored the next three points on Clarkson misplays to win the set.
The second set initially shaped up like the first one as the teams were tied six times, the last at 10-10. Cortland tallied three straight points on a Wick kill, a Barrett ace and a Cooper kill to go up 13-10. With the score 14-12, Cortland mounted a 7-0 rally to take control. Coyle recorded two kills during that run.
Cortland dominated the third set from the start. The Red Dragons opened a 5-0 lead and went on an 8-2 run to extend a 6-1 advantage to 14-3. With the score 21-9, Cortland finished off the match with four straight points, two on Asibey kills.
Cortland honored seniors Asibey, Cooper and Lawrence prior to their final regular-season home match. Coyle is a senior academically but still has a year of eligibility remaining that she plans to use next season.
Cortland will compete at the Stevens Tech Invitational on Friday and Saturday in New Jersey. Among Cortland’s four opponents in the tournament will be nationally 18th-ranked UMass-Boston.
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