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Volleyball continues hot streak with tournament win

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Tue, Oct 22nd 2019 08:00 pm
Sophomore Kerri McHale sets a ball up on Wednesday, Oct. 16 against Wells College. McHale collected 116 assists over the three matches this past week.
Sophomore Kerri McHale sets a ball up on Wednesday, Oct. 16 against Wells College. McHale collected 116 assists over the three matches this past week.

At the beginning of the 2019 campaign, The College at Brockport volleyball team struggled to find its rhythm. Unable to muster a winning record at any of its three early-season tournaments, Brockport’s record was not what it expected heading into conference play. Now that the majority of the conference schedule has been played, the Golden Eagles have rid themselves of their early-season woes and won its first weekend tournament on Saturday, Oct. 19. 

Brockport was riding a five-game win streak before SUNY Oneonta stopped it on Saturday, Oct. 12. Since the streak began, the team had been preparing for matches with added intensity, as all five of them were against SUNYAC opponents. 

“We’ve just been more tactical in our practices with watching film on other teams and working on different defenses so our hitters know how to score on other teams’ defenses,” sophomore defensive specialist Ellen Paddock said. “Then, we’ve been working on getting 1% better every practice.” 

The Golden Eagles found the win column immediately after the Oneonta match, defeating Wells College in straight sets on Wednesday, Oct. 16. That gave Brockport the momentum it needed to travel to Schenectady, New York to defeat Union College and Arcadia Univ ersity. 

The victory over Union replicated many of the other ones during the recent win streak. However, unlike some of the conference matchups, Brockport had to put up with a competitive opponent, scraping out both the first and third sets by 25-23 scores. The second set was more lopsided, with Brockport winning 25-13. 

Senior outside hitter Lindsey Luce, freshman outside hitter Megan Muehlbauer and sophomore outside hitter Andrea Coyle all tallied over 10 kills in the match for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore setter Kerri McHale did not split playing time against Union and racked up 42 assists, a team-high four aces and 17 digs. Luce led the team with three blocks, while junior middle blocker Meaghan Mastro and sophomore middle blocker Myah Frostclap had two apiece. Paddock trailed McHale in digs with 14. 

Brockport’s second match of the day proved to be possibly its most even matchup of the season. Arcadia took a commanding 2-0 lead, winning the two sets by a combined six points. The Golden Eagles came storming back, coming out victorious in the final three sets to take the match. A 25-20 third set score, which favored Brockport, was the largest deficit of any set in the match. 

More sets being played allowed for players to gather more impressive stat lines. Coyle led the way in kills with 19, while Mastro, Luce and Muehlbauer all had over 10. McHale topped her season-best assist total with 45 in the match, coming 11 short of her career-high. Sophomore defensive specialist Shelby Budnick had a team-high five aces. Mastro had a career-high 10 total blocks against Arcadia, and Paddock compiled 31 digs. 

The two wins represented the first tournament in which the Golden Eagles left with a winning record. Brockport can now move on to its final few invitationals without having that hanging over it. 

“We were all pumped and excited that we won both matches, especially the second [against Arcadia] because we were down two games,” Mastro said. “It reminded us of how successful we can be and made us even more hungry for next weekend’s matches.” 

Brockport, now sporting a 12—10 record, will play its final two league matches this upcoming weekend. The Golden Eagles will travel to SUNY Oswego on Friday, Oct. 25 for a 6 p.m. start. The next day, Brockport goes to SUNY Cortland, with the match scheduled to start at 1 p.m. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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