CANTON, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Women's Volleyball Team (2-4, 0-0 NEAC) would be forgiven for heading to the wrong bench once or twice during Saturday morning's thrilling 3-2 victory over SUNY Plattsburgh. The Wildcats defeated the Cardinals and former head coach Jake Bluhm, who left SUNYIT over the summer to take the Head Women's Volleyball position at Plattsburgh.
The win gave new SUNYIT coach Dan Liberto his second official victory on the year (Friday's first match against a team from Montreal goes down as an exhibition), and helped a young Wildcat team improve to 2-4 overall.
As fate would have it, Coach Bluhm's former recruits went off against his new team. Sophomore hitter Emma Larson (Miller Place, N.Y. / Miller Place) exploded for a career- and match-high 20 kills, while fellow sophomore and team setter Rebecca Sheely (Schuylerville, N.Y. / Schuylerville) posted a match-high 43 assists to go along with 10 digs.
Rookie Megan Will (Remsen, N.Y. / Remsen) was right behind Larson, posting 15 kills and a team-high 3 assisted blocks.
All-conference libero Erika Reakes (Brewerton, N.Y. / Paul V. Moore) led the way with 33 digs, but the commitment to ball-control (a concept stressed by Bluhm during his time at SUNYIT) as a team seemed to be alive and well under the new regime, as Reakes was one of five SUNYIT players to post double-digit digs.
Junior and team co-captain Morgan Eberley (Utica, N.Y. / Whitesboro) was one of those players, recording 11 digs to go along with 3 totals blocks and 9 kills.
SUNYIT was down 2 sets to 1 before rallying to win the fourth set 25-21, then cruising to a 15-5 win in the deciding fifth set.
The Wildcats would be swept by a powerful St. Lawrence team in their final match of the invite, but the 3-1 showing over the two-day invite was a decided step in the right direction.
"Our girls battled through a weekend of great competition," said Coach Liberto at the conclusion of play.
"We were fortunate to come out on the right end of a couple tight matches; we're becoming a more defined unit each weekend, and I'm looking forward to our continued improvement."
With 38 kills and 18 total blocks over the 4-match weekend, freshman Megan Will represented SUNYIT on the All-Tournament team.
SUNYIT will have a much shorter away trip next, as they head to Utica College on Wednesday. Match time is scheduled for 7:00 pm.