November 10, 2012


Sweep start for Dragons

POTSDAM — So far, very good for the SUNY Cortland volleyball team.
The Red Dragons performed like a top-seed should to get the NCAA Division III tournament under way on Friday afternoon, sweeping away eighth-seed Colby Sawyer 25-19, 25-13, 25-12 in the quarterfinal round of regional play being hosted by Clarkson University.
Cortland (34-5) will now face fourth-seed and SUNY Athletic Conference cohort New Paltz (33-8) in this afternoon’s 3:30 p.m. semifinal. The winner plays for the regional title and a spot in the NCAA ‘Elite Eight’ on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
New Paltz opened up with a 25-19, 12-25, 25-19, 25-17 win over Skidmore on Friday to get another shot at conference champion Cortland. The two teams split matches during the regular season.
In the other opening round matches, host and third-seed Clarkson defeated Nazareth 25-27, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13 and second-seed Middlebury eliminated Southern Vermont 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22. Clarkson and Middlebury meet in the other semifinal today at 6 p.m.
In putting away Colby-Sawyer (18-14) out of New Hampshire, Cortland finished with a team .378 attack percentage — with 41 kills and only seven errors in 90 attempts.
Junior Aubrey Barrett totaled eight kills with no errors in 13 attempts for a .615 attack percentage. Senior Ashley Coyle had 10 kills and no errors in 23 attempts (.435) and junior Ava Hintz put down a team-high 13 kills with two errors in 26 attempts (.423).
Hintz also led Cortland with four aces and four blocks. Coyle had three aces and 10 digs and junior Krissy Silk led the team with 11 digs.
Senior setter Kristen Guercio finished with 32 assists and is now 24 assists away from becoming the ninth player in NCAA Div. III history to reach 6,000 career assists.
Colby-Sawyer was led by Courtney O’Hara’s seven kills and Laura Smolinski’s 24 assists and 10 digs. Emilee McBride added six kills and only one error in nine attempts for a .556 attack percentage and Stephanie Vecchio chipped in with six kills and three aces.
The Chargers were making their second straight NCAA appearance.
The first set was tied at 13-13, and the Chargers were still within 17-16 after a McBride kill that prompted a Cortland timeout. The Red Dragons responded with four straight points on kills by Barrett and Hintz, a Silk ace and a Colby-Sawyer ball handling error to take a 21-16 lead.
Cortland took an early 4-0 lead in the second set and was never seriously threatened. Colby-Sawyer led 5-2 to start the third set before the Red Dragons rattled off six straight points, including all three of Coyle’s aces along with kills by Coyle, Barrett and Hintz. Colby-Sawyer tallied four straight points to re-gain the lead at 9-8, but Cortland put the set and match away with an 8-0 run sparked by Hintz’s kill and two blocks, one solo.


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