November 13, 2010
Dramatic opening victory for Dragons
FROSTBURG, Md. — Career-best performances by outside hitter Ashley Coyle and setter Kristen Guercio were needed for SUNY Cortland to out-last Case Western Reserve and capture an opening round NCAA Division III tournament victory on Friday night.
In Bobcat Arena on the Frostburg State campus, junior Coyle had 27 kills and sophomore Guercio came up with 68 assists — career best numbers for both — as the Red Dragons moved on to the second round of this eight-team regional competition in dramatic 26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 17-25, 15-11 fashion.
After sixth seed Case Western won the third and fourth sets to pull even with Cortland and set up a decisive race to 15 points, things were all tied up at 11-11 before the Red Dragons captured the final four points to advance.
Cortland (24-7), the third seed in the regional, will face host Frostburg State (33-3) at 6 p.m. this evening in the semifinals. Frostburg swept past Pitt-Bradford 25-22, 25-14, 25-18 in its first round match.
The other semifinal starts at 3 p.m today., with Lebanon Valley (24-9) taking on Juniata (31-5).
Guercio has established a school single-season record with 1,595 assists. She also had nine digs and four kills. Coyle tallied 16 digs along with her 27 kills. She has 592 kills this season, seven shy of tying the school single-season record of 599 kills set by Michelle Gaufman in 2008.
Junior middle hitter Sheena Asibey added 15 kills and a game-high five blocks for the Red Dragons. Junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Cooper had 13 kills and two blocks and freshman outside hitter Aubrey Barrett chipped in with a career-best nine kills.
Sophomore Katie Wick, the former scholastic all-star at Homer Central, and classmate Erin Carrino registered 14 and 13 digs defensively, respectively.
Rachael Suchy and Tricia McCutchan led Case Western (24-11) with 19 kills each. Allie Palmer finished with 12 kills and Breana Freeman totaled 52 assists. Rachel Gulasey led the Spartans with 25 digs and McCutchan served four aces.
Cortland trailed the entire first half of the opening set. Down 15-12, the Red Dragons went on a 7-0 run, led by three Asibey kills, to take a 19-15 lead. Case came back to tie the match at 19-19, but a Coyle kill and Asibey block put Cortland up 21-19. Case again tied the match with two straight points, and the teams then alternated the next six points to stay tied at 24-24. A Coyle kill and a Case attack error gave the Red Dragons the win.
With the teams tied 17-17 in the second, Cortland scored three consecutive points on kills by Guercio, Coyle and Barrett. The Spartans got one point back, but the Red Dragons tallied the final five points — two coming on a Cooper kill and block and the final point on a Wick service ace.
The third set was tied 15 times, the last at 23-23 after a Case kill by Suchy. Palmer scored the Spartans’ final two points on a block and a kill to end the set.
Case used a 5-1 run in the fourth set to turn an 11-10 lead into a 16-11 advantage. The lead was at least four the rest of the set.
In the fifth set, Cortland trailed 3-1 early, but scored the next three points. The teams were tied at every interval from 4-4 to 9-9 before a Coyle kill and a block by Jenna Davies and Cooper gave the Red Dragons an 11-9 lead. Case scored two straight to tie the set at 11.
From that point, Coyle’s kill put Cortland up 12-11 and Asibey’s solo block extended the lead to 13-11. Cortland also scored on a bad set by the Spartans, and Davies put down a solo block to end the match.
Coyle, Coach Hoerup earn top SUNYAC East honors
Cortland junior outside hitter Ashley Coyle has been selected as the SUNY Athletic Conference Eastern Division Player of the Year. The junior out of Minisink Valley is joined on the all-conference by junior middle hitter Sheena Asibey from Brentwood, while junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Cooper out of Webster Schroeder was a second-team choice.
In addition, Cortland sixth-year head coach Pam Hoerup has been voted as the SUNYAC Coach of the Year by her peers.
Heading into Friday’s NCAA match, Coyle led the Red Dragons with 565 kills, tied for the second highest single-season total in school history. She averages nearly four kills per set and is Cortland’s leader with 474 digs.
Asibey earned a spot on the all-league first team for the second straight year. She has 389 kills and 73 blocks, while Cooper had a team-high 117 blocks.
Under Hoerup’s direction, won its 17th SUNYAC title, and first since 2007, with victories over Geneseo and New Paltz to win last week’s conference tournament.
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