Brockport, NY – The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) saw two seed, Fredonia, take on three seed, Geneseo in the first of two volleyball semifinal matches.
Fredonia and Geneseo both fought hard in the first match of the night. The opening set started out as evenly as it could've possibly been seeing the two teams trade points back and forth all the way to a 13-13 tie. Five unanswered Fredonia points brought the game to a seemingly insurmountable 18-13 deficit for the Knights. After calling a timeout, Geneseo was able to pull within two points only down 19-17 but Fredonia would finish strong and take a 1-0 match lead after winning the opening set, 25-19.
In set two, Geneseo came out strong, taking a 14-8 lead causing the Blue Devils to call their first timeout. During which, coach Geoff Braun's pep talk put some life back into his team, and Fredonia would begin to rally their way back into the set. They would eventually tie it up at 21, and take the set 25-22, and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Fredonia continued to ride their momentum and came out hot in the third set taking a quick 11-6 lead before the Knights took their first timeout. Geneseo would fight their way back, keeping it close for the remainder of the set, however the Blue Devils would hold their lead and go on to take the third set 25-20.
Geneseo's Grace Cegrol (East Northport, NY) led her squad with 15 kills, 15 digs and 17.5 points but fell short to Kristen Stanek's (Hamburg, NY) team-leading 14 kills and 14.5 points as Fredonia defeated the Knights 3-0 to advance to tomorrow's championship match against the winner of the Brockport and New Paltz semifinal match.
The second semifinal matchup saw the top seed Brockport Golden Eagles who had an overall record of 24-8, and 9-0 in the SUNYAC host the fourth seed New Paltz Hawks who were 20-12 overall and 6-3 against conference foes in 2017.
Prior to the first set, New Paltz junior, Ruby Klein (Oceanside, NY), was awarded with the SUNYAC Elite 20 honor for volleyball. The SUNYAC Elite 20 is an award modeled after the NCAA Elite 90 program, which honors individuals who have reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among their peers, teammates and opponents.
Brockport jumped out to a quick start in the first set, as they were up 7-3 when New Paltz took their first timeout. The Hawks started to pick up the pace afterwards as they called their second timeout trailing 19-13, but were no match for Brockport and were eventually defeated in set one, 25-16, giving the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two started out very even as the teams kept trading points back and forth. A 7-7 tie at one point early in the match, New Paltz began to pull ahead forcing the Brockport to call a timeout down 11-7 to try and slow down some of the Hawks' momentum. The timeout ended up being a great call by head coach Steve Pike, as the Golden Eagles started rallying back until the set reached a 16-16 tie. One the set was all knotted up again, both squads continued to trade points until Brockport finally took back the lead, 21-20, and never looked back on their way to securing the 25-20 set two victory and a 2-0 match lead.
Brockport kept the momentum rolling from the finish of the previous set and opened the third set with four unanswered points. The Hawks were able to keep their composure with the hopes of pulling off a comeback to take the set in an attempt to keep their SUNYAC title hopes alive. New Paltz went into both of their timeouts trailing with a score of 13-8 and then 16-11, however, that wasn't going to be enough for the Hawks as Brockport started to pile on points again and were able to finish off the set with a 25-18 victory. Brockport seemed ruthless, playing hard and never looking back after taking the lead on the very first serve. They completed the 3-0 sweep over New Paltz as well as punching a ticket to face Fredonia as they look for a chance to three-peat as SUNYAC champions.
The SUNYAC Volleyball Championship match will be tomorrow in Brockport at 5 p.m. as the second seeded Blue Devils try to dethrone the top seeded, Golden Eagles. Brockport has won back to back SUNYAC titles and have not lost to a conference opponent since 2014.