November 12, 2011
Strong start for Dragons
POTSDAM — SUNY Cortland had little trouble living up to its No. 1 seed while getting underway in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament with a victory on Friday night.
With senior middle hitters Kaitlyn Cooper and Sheena Asibey coming up with 10 kills apiece, the nationally 18-ranked Red Dragons swept past Southern Vermont 25-19, 25-12, 25-23 in the opening round of an eight-team regional being held at Clarkson University.
Cortland (40-1) will face fourth-seeded Clarkson in the second round this evening at 6 p.m., the hosts having beaten fifth-seeded Nazareth 25-13, 20-25, 25-13, 25-22 in the fourth and final match of the day.
Coach Pam Hoerup’ spikers won their 20th straight match, Cortland now with its ninth 40-win season and first since 2003. Southern Vermont, the eighth seed, had a 21-match winning streak snapped with the loss and finishes the season 31-3.
Cooper finished with 10 kills and two errors in 18 attempts for a .444 attack percentage and led the team with four blocks. Asibey hit a team-high .471 (10 kills and two errors in 17 attempts) and added three blocks.
Cortland junior setter Kristen Guercio totaled 33 assists and nine digs and senior Ashley Coyle had nine kills and team highs of three aces and 16 digs. Senior Jaclyn Lawrence chipped in with 10 digs and two aces and junior Katie Wick finished with two aces and six digs.
Jessica Alvarez led Southern Vermont with 14 kills and was second on the team with 10 digs. Danielle Healis had seven kills and Hershey Canta dished out 26 assists.
Cortland used a 4-0 run, featuring two Coyle aces, to break a 7-7 tie in the first set. The Mountaineers were still within three at 21-18, but Wick registered a kill and an ace to give the Red Dragons a five-point lead. Cortland won the set, 25-19, to end Southern Vermont’s streak of 51 consecutive sets won.
The teams were tied 5-5 in the second set before Cortland mounted a 13-1 run to go up 18-6. Sophomore Aubrey Barrett had two kills and a block during that decisive stretch. Southern Vermont led 13-7 in the third set, but Cortland tallied six straight points to force a 13-13 tie. The Mountaineers also led 22-19 later in the set, but the Red Dragons responded with a 5-0 run fueled by two Asibey kills, a Barrett kill and a Coyle ace.
Healis kept Southern Vermont within a point with a kill, but a block by Asibey and junior Jenna Davies ended the set and the match.
In other first-round action at Clarkson Friday, third-seeded Skidmore outlasted sixth-seeded Rivier College 20-25, 20-25, 25-10, 25-22, 15-9 and second-seeded Middlebury swept seventh-seeded Colby-Sawyer 25-23, 25-21, 25-11.
Skidmore (28-8) and Middlebury (22-8) meet in the other regional semifinal at 3:30 p.m. Today’s winners advance to the regional finals on Sunday, a 4 p.m. start.
l The SUNY Cortland women’s soccer team opened up NCAA Division III tournament play in Cleveland this morning, taking on Eastern in a first round game hosted by Case Western.
l The SUNY cross country teams are at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regionals being hosted by St. Lawrence University.
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