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Volleyball turns corner with pair of victories

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Tue, Oct 1st 2019 09:00 pm
Megan Muehlbauer prepares to spike a ball over the net. Brockport won the match in straight sets and then defeated SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Megan Muehlbauer prepares to spike a ball over the net. Brockport won the match in straight sets and then defeated SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Following a blowout loss to SUNY Geneseo in its first conference matchup, The College at Brockport volleyball team appears as though it made the necessary corrections to turn the season around. The team entered its matches on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28 with a record of 4—9. Despite the poor results, the Golden Eagles handled SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam to earn their first two SUNYAC wins of the 2019 campaign.

When Plattsburgh visited Brockport on Friday, Sept. 27, the Cardinals were overwhelmed from the first serve. Brockport won all three sets in dominant fashion, taking them 25-13, 25-14 and 25-18. The Golden Eagles got contributions from many different players throughout the match. Senior outside hitter Lindsey Luce led the team with 10 kills, but junior middle blocker Meaghan Mastro, sophomore outside hitter Andrea Coyle and freshman outside hitter Megan Muehlbauer all finished with between six and eight. Sophomore setter Kerri McHale provided 18 assists and senior setter Abbey Manning had 13. Sophomore defensive specialist Shelby Budnick led the Golden Eagles with five aces and sophomore defensive specialist Ellen Paddock had 16 digs.

Brockport head coach Steve Pike, despite not showing a lot of emotion on the sidelines, had a lot to be pleased about in victory.

“[I was] pretty excited about the fact that our offense was in system and that we were able to control the serve and pass,” Pike said. “We executed what we wanted to do serving-wise which really made their life hard. I think they’re a much better offensive team than we saw because of that, so that was huge. And us being able to find out middles [blockers], [senior] Elena [Grossman] and Mastro. We were able to find them a lot and score a lot of nice, easy points, which was really exciting to see because that’s something we’ve been working on.”

Brockport continued its dominance the next day, as Potsdam had no answer for the Golden Eagles’ attack at points during the match. The first set was a lopsided 25-14 victory for Brockport. The home team then had to squeak out the second set 27-25. Potsdam took the third 25-22 then lost the fourth 25-11. Mastro, Luce and Coyle all had at least 12 kills for Brockport, while McHale dished out 25 assists. Budnick tallied four aces while Paddock and Coyle each had three. Once again, Paddock led the team with 17 digs.

After two big victories over quality opponents, Brockport has now positioned itself for another run toward the top of the SUNYAC standings, even with a 6—9 overall record. The team now has a winning streak, which could lead to momentum. According to Paddock, that momentum is vital because of a few changes made in practice.

“[The two wins] have really solidified that the mindset changes we made in practice have really been paying off,” Paddock said. “We have worked with a sports psychologist and printed out our team core values for our team room.”

The new-look Golden Eagles dominated five of the seven sets they played this weekend. With the top tier of the conference still left on the schedule, Brockport still has to stay sharp to make the playoffs. Its next step in that journey will come on Friday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. when SUNY Fredonia pays Brockport a visit. The Golden Eagles will host Buffalo State on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. Both Fredonia and Buffalo State are below Brockport in the league standings but able to catch the Golden Eagles with a solid showing this weekend.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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