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Volleyball sets up league table with decisive wins

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Tue, Oct 8th 2019 03:00 pm
Junior Meaghan Mastro digs a ball from right above the court while senior Lindsey Luce readies herself to hit the ball.
Junior Meaghan Mastro digs a ball from right above the court while senior Lindsey Luce readies herself to hit the ball.

The College at Brockport volleyball team appears as though it is back to its winning ways. With a rebuild looking to be in the works after a disappointing non-conference slate, the Golden Eagles have rattled off four straight SUNYAC wins to place themselves near the top of the conference standings. Brockport’s dominant performances on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 proved it is ready to contend for yet another championship.

When SUNY Fredonia visited Brockport on Friday, the Blue Devils were in desperate need of a victory. The Golden Eagles did not allow that to happen and controlled the match from the first serve to the final point. Brockport won the first and third sets 25-17 and the second set 25-20. Another well-rounded performance with contributions from multiple players led Brockport to the win. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Thompson led the team with nine kills, while sophomore outside hitter Andrea Coyle tallied seven. As per usual, senior setter Abbey Manning and sophomore setter Kerri McHale led the way in assists, with Manning collecting 16 and McHale registering 10. Coyle’s five aces were the most on the team, but Manning and sophomore defensive specialist Shelby Budnick each had three. Sophomore defensive specialist Ellen Paddock had 21 of Brockport’s 45 digs in the match.

Brockport has gotten big performances from many different players this year. Six different players have led the Golden Eagles in kills in a single match. This diversity is linked to the gameplan and flow of the match, according to Brockport head coach Steve Pike.

“Sometimes it’s by design by what we scout about the opponent and sometimes it’s in the flow of ‘hey, this is what’s working against them,’” Pike said. “Tonight it was a little bit by design because we thought that she [Thompson] could score from that side and attack back into certain zones well.”

The next day, Brockport took on a struggling Buffalo State squad. The Golden Eagles won all three sets in convincing fashion for the second day in a row. With scores of 25-7, 25-17, 25-15, the Bengals never had a chance to put a comeback together. Senior middle blocker Elena Grossman was the only Golden Eagle to reach double digit kills, racking up 10. Junior middle blocker Meaghan Mastro was close behind Grossman, finishing with eight. Manning and McHale almost matched each other’s assist totals, with the pair combining for 35. Budnick’s three aces led Brockport, while Paddock had 21 digs for the second day in a row.

All four wins in the current streak have come against the teams at the bottom of the SUNYAC standings. If Brockport struggled for the victories, there could be a cause for concern. However, the Golden Eagles have run through their recent opponents, winning 12 of the last 13 sets they have played. Grossman has noticed a few things that have contributed to this dominant stretch.

“The biggest thing has been everyone getting closer as a team and coming in individually for extra reps to keep improving on their own, which makes us better together,” Grossman said.

Brockport’s next two matches have major implications on the way the conference standings will end up. With a road trip scheduled for SUNY New Paltz on Friday, Oct. 11 and SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Oct. 12, the Golden Eagles have a chance to make a major statement. New Paltz won the SUNYAC tournament in 2018 to snap Brockport’s string of three consecutive championships. The Hawks are currently 8—7 overall and 3—2 in league play, but are still a dangerous opponent. Oneonta had a torrid start to the season, boasting a 15—3 record before two conference losses this past weekend. The Red Dragons will present one of the toughest challenges for the Golden Eagles the rest of the way, especially when playing on their home court. Oneonta boasts a perfect record when at home in 2019.

Brockport’s matchup with New Paltz will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Oneonta tilt will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Brockport has three consecutive non-conference games following this weekend’s SUNYAC contests.

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