Volleyball sets sights on SUNYACs
Cards head for Potsdam today
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
Balance and unity are words synonymous with the Plattsburgh State volleyball team this fall.
The Cardinals (3-1) return 10 players from 2011 and welcome a cast of three newcomers expected to make a significant impact.
Dena O’Connell, who enters her 15th season asPSUC’s head coach, was content with the team’s camaraderie during the preseason.
“All of my seniors have leadership capabilities,”O’Connell said. “In order to make the conference tournament next month, it’s going to take a group effort. There isn’t just one individual name that stands out. Our underclassmen new to the program also bring a lot to the table, too.”
O’Connell said she expects back-to-backSUNYAC championship appearances for the first time after a string of appearances from 2000 to 2003.
“We set goals every week, and we want to make sure we achieve them by taking everything one practice at a time,” O’Connell said. “The returnees are helping out the incoming freshmen by making them feel welcome. It’s been nice because they’re doing it as a team — it isn’t just one or two people.”
Senior Rosi Cummings returns for her final season after appearing in 111 sets and leading the team with 361 kills in 2011. She also landed on the SUNYAC East Division All-Conference Team.
“In terms of technical skills, I think this is the best team we’ve had in my three years at Plattsburgh State,” Cummings said. “We get along really well and have good chemistry on the court, so I think we have a lot of potential.”
The team kicked off its regular season schedule with a non-league tournament at Oneonta on Aug. 31. With a 2-0 second day, the program got off to its best start in over five years. Cummings and freshman Laura Diehl stood out, representing the Cards on the All-Tournament Team.
One year after leading the team in assists (621) and securing a spot on the SUNYAC All-Academic Team, Kayla Nason is optimistic following the road trip.
“After we got all of the nerves out in the first game, we just clicked and started working together,”Nason said. “Last year, we played at our opponent’s pace. Our team settled down, and we started working together collectively as a unit.”
The captains both agreed the team’s morale isn’t in doubt entering this season.
“A lot of the game is all about momentum, so you have to come in with a good attitude,” Cummings said as Nason added, “If one person goes for the ball and misses it, we’ve got four or five girls who go out on the court and pick her back up.”
Cummings and Nason are joined by senior kills specialist Theresa Lilly and Abby Mell, who accumulated 56 total blocks at the net last year.
“All of our seniors are doing such a good job leading by example,” Cummings said. “Everyone’s working with one another in an effort to compete at the same level. We’re putting a little more pressure on ourselves to be more vocal this season.”
The Cards stay on the road this weekend to take part in the Victory Promotions Invitational at Potsdam. Their first contest of the four-game tournament will be against St. Lawrence University, with the first serve slated for 4 p.m. today.