UTICA, N.Y. – The Wildcat volleyball team (21-12, 8-2 NEAC) turned in a performance worthy of Senior Day, beating the MCLA Trailblazers (12-20) in straight sets, 3-0. Before the match departing seniors Juleah Vedder (Dolgeville, N.Y. / Dolgeville) and Kim Tarasek (Lowville, N.Y. / Lowville) were honored with flowers and volleyballs signed by their teammates.
The close-knit Wildcats may have been battling some of the emotions brought on by the Senior Day festivities in the first game, as they fell behind 18-14. After a timeout by Coach Jake Bluhm, however, the 'Cats responded with a 4-0 run to even the score and force a Trailblazer timeout. The teams battled to 21-21, and then two costly errors by MCLA (back-to-back spikes into the net) put the Wildcats up by two. They didn't look back, and held on for a 25-21 win in the first game.
"They definitely scared me a bit," said Bluhm of the first game, "if we've had one Achilles heel this year it's been consistency with our intensity, but we battled through and came away with the win."
True to Bluhm's word, SUNYIT responded to the shaky set with an outstanding one, jumping out to a 14-3 lead. The 14th point was a monster spike by Vedder that ricocheted off an MCLA player and almost skimmed the rafters on its way into the stands. She finished the day with 16 kills on 30 attempts with just 3 errors, good for a .433 hitting percentage.
"Juleah is truly the foundation of this program," said Bluhm, "She's had an incredible career: she is the all-time leader in kills, aces, and digs at SUNYIT, and makes everybody on the court better. She leads by example both on and off the court, and we are incredibly lucky to have her in our program."
SUNYIT went on to win the second set 25-9 and continued their strong play into the third, closing out the match with a 25-16 win. Appropriately, the match ended on a Juleah Vedder kill.
The Wildcats have now won 12 of their last 15 matches as they turn their attention to the NEAC Tournament next weekend (Nov. 5-6). The women will face Gallaudet in an 11:00 am match at host site Penn State-Berks. In the two teams' only previous match up this season, Gallaudet got the better of SUNYIT 3-0.