November 6, 2012
Red Dragons get NCAA destinations
Having earned the right to return to their respective NCAA Division III tournaments, the SUNY Cortland women’s volleyball and soccer squads had their regional destinations decided on Monday.
The Cortland volleyball team will be making its third straight NCAA appearance and 24th overall starting on Friday, as the Red Dragons will be the top seeds in an eight-team regional being hosted by Clarkson University in Potsdam. Cortland (33-5) will face New Hampshire’s Colby-Sawyer (18-13), the eighth seed, at 3 p.m. on Friday in the opening round.
In soccer, Cortland women will be making their second consecutive NCAA appearance and 12th in school history among a gathering of four schools this weekend at William Smith College in Geneva. The Red Dragons (11-4-5) will take on Springfield College (13-4-2) out of Massachusetts on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to get the post-season underway.
Spikers Top Seeds
The Cortland match against Colby-Sawyer will be the second on Friday’s opening day schedule at Clarkson.
Fourth-seeded New Paltz (32-8) meets fifth-seeded Skidmore (26-7) at 12:30 p.m., second-seeded Middlebury (22-6) out of Vermont goes up against Southern Vermont College (24-6) at 5:30 p.m. and third-seeded host Clarkson (28-6) meets sixth-seeded Nazareth (22-14) at 8 p.m.
The winner of Cortland’s match against Colby-Sawyer will face the New Paltz-Skidmore winner in the regional semifinals Saturday at 3:30 p.m.. The regional final is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Seven of the eight schools — New Paltz being the exception — participated in last year’s NCAA regional also hosted by Clarkson.
The regional champion advances to the “Elite Eight” at Hope College in Holland, Mich., Nov. 15-17.
Under eighth-year head coach Pam Hoerup, Cortland won its 19th SUNY Athletic Conference title this past weekend to earn an automatic NCAA bid. The Red Dragons have advanced to the national quarterfinals nine times, including last season.
Cortland reached the 30-win mark for the 24th time overall and the sixth time in eight years.
Senior outside hitter Ashley Coyle leads Cortland with 427 kills (3.3 per set) and is second on the team with 453 digs. She ranks second in school history with 1,768 career kills, 54 behind Michelle Gaufman’s 1,822 kills from 2006-09.
Senior setter Kristen Guercio averages 10.9 assists per set. She is Cortland’s career leader with 5,944 assists and is 56 assists away from becoming the ninth player in NCAA Division III history to reach the 6,000-assist mark.
Junior middle hitter Ava Hintz and senior middle hitter Natalie Zacpal rank second and third on the team this fall with 398 and 302 kills, respectively. Zacpal is the team leader with 133 blocks and a .330 attack percentage. Hintz is second in both categories with 91 blocks and a .319 attack percentage.
Cortland High graduate Kelly Knauserhase is a sophomore back-up for the Red Dragons who has 21 kills on the season.
Booters Face Springfield
When Cortland takes on Springfield to get the NCAA Division III soccer playoffs started, it will be only the second time the two schools have met. Springfield won that previous meeting 2-1 back in 1981.
The other first-round game in the four-team bracket at William Smith features the host Herons (13-2-3) going up against Penn State Behrend (12-8) Saturday at 11 a.m. The two advancing teams will play Sunday at 1 p.m. at William Smith.
Cortland, under ninth-year head coach Heidi Woodcock, earned an NCAA automatic berth by defeating Oneonta, 2-1, in the SUNYAC tournament championship game this past Saturday. The Red Dragons won their first SUNYAC title since 1991.
Last year, Cortland earned an NCAA at-large berth and advanced through the first three rounds before losing in the NCAA quarterfinals to rival Ithaca College.
Junior forward Kelly Knight from Rochester leads Cortland with 16 point on four goals and a team-high eight assists. All four of her goals have been game winners this fall, including the decisive tally in the 84th minute versus Oneonta in the SUNYAC finals.
Senior midfielder Stacey Wood and sophomore midfielder Emma Whittle lead the Red Dragons with six goals apiece. Sophomore goalie Taylor Hudson has a 1.01 goals against average and six shutouts in 18 games.
Rachel Parker, a sophomore out of Marathon, has contributed two goals and two assists for Cortland this season.
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