Volleyball takes 3rd place in Ithaca tournament

This past weekend was a busy one for the Lady Knights volleyball team as they improved their record to 8-3 after finishing third at the Ithaca Bombers Tournament.

At this point last year, Geneseo had posted a record of 1-10; an indicator of just how far the team has come.

The Lady Knights opened up on Friday night against the Baptist Bible Defenders from Clarks Summit, Pa. Geneseo took the match in a three-game win: 25-22, 25-15, 25-10.

Senior Jess McKenna collected 20 digs and six service aces while junior Krista Frieling added 10 kills to pace Geneseo. Junior Joanne Smith was close behind with nine kills and senior Maddy Maler handed out 20 assists, more than double the rest of the team's total.

In the second match of thenight, Geneseo defeated Rutgers-Newark in three sets: 25-8, 25-11, 25-22. Sophomore Kat Strickland totaled six kills, leading the way for the win. Junior Janelle Heinig added five kills and freshman Laura Galvin dished out 18 assists with eight digs as Geneseo won with ease.

"Not a lot has changed this year in our lineup but we have improved in skill," said head coach Jen Salmon. "The girls have a different mentality this year. They came into school in great shape."

The third match of the weekend on Saturday was the only low point of the tournament as Geneseo fell to host the Ithaca Bombers: 25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 19-25. Frieling posted 15 kills and McKenna collected 24 digs to lead Geneseo. Maler added to her considerable assist total as she posted 27, while Galvin handed out 14 helpers in a losing effort.

"We beat ourselves in that match," Salmon said. "We didn't play up to the level we had played so far. They stopped playing as a unit and couldn't come together when things went wrong."

Instead of a harsh post game speech, however, Salmon told the girls "to talk amongst themselves to fix the problem and that's what they did. I was impressed after the loss how they came together."

In the next game, the Lady Knights redeemed themselves against an opponent they had lost to last year, beating Union College in four sets: 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 25-11. Frieling contributed 13 kills to lead the attack, Maler handed out a team high 30 assists and McKenna totaled 35 digs. The latter two totals were team highs for the tournament.

Geneseo then went on to beat Rochester Institute of Technology to secure their third-place finish. "These were both big wins for us," Salmon said.

Next up for Geneseo is a tournament at RIT, featuring several teams from the SUNYAC conference.