Volleyball places fourth at RIT tournament

The Geneseo women's volleyball team placed fourth in the Rochester Institute of Technology Invitational Tournament this weekend, winning their first two matches before dropping their final two.

The Lady Knights beat SUNY Potsdam in four sets 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 25-28 and defeated host RIT in three sets 25-17, 25-21, 25-18 on Friday night.

"We were able to start and finish with a consistent mindset the whole game and play consistently well," said head coach Jen Salmon of the game against RIT.

Saturday was a different story, however, as Geneseo went on to lose their semifinal game against Nazareth College 25-29, 25-19, 25-22 and third-place game against the University of Rochester 25-18, 25-18, 24-26, 25-16. Salmon said she was pleased with this weekend's outcome, considering only a year ago the team placed last in the very same tournament.

The team's biggest achievement came in the game against RIT in which they disposed of the Tigers in three straight sets. This was the Lady Knights' second victory over their local rival in the past two weeks. "We were able to be aggressive all three games, confident all three games and smart all three games," Salmon said. "We did that the whole match which is great."

Senior setter Maddy Maler was named to the All-Tournament team after a great weekend performance in which she had 25 assists against Potsdam and added another 18 assists against Nazareth. Salmon said that Maler's honor was "much deserved" and that "she is both a leader on and off the court."

The Lady Knights are now 10-6 on the season - an astonishing start for a team that finished 12-24 only a season ago. "It's like night and day compared to last year," said Salmon, who is in her second year as head coach at Geneseo.

The turnaround is impressive to say the least, as the team is now two wins away from matching its win total for all of last season. Salmon said that she attributes this remarkable improvement to a "culture change" in the locker room.

"The players are sacrificing a lot more, they're much more committed, not only the newcomers but the veterans as well," she said "We have a really good team dynamic and we're all on the same page as far as our vision, goals and what we want to accomplish."

The Lady Knights continue their season on the road this weekend as they travel to Brockport. Geneseo starts off on Friday against Buffalo State at 3 p.m. and then takes on SUNY Brockport at 5 p.m.