Geneseo's women's volleyball team lost in the first round of the SUNYAC tournament to Cortland last Thursday; a loss that ended a turnaround year for the Knights, as they improved from last season's record of 12-24 to 20-17 this year.
Last week, the Knights traveled to New Paltz as the third seed to square off against second-seeded Cortland. They lost in three sets, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-19. Freshman setter Laura Galvin had 12 assists to lead the Knights offensive attack and senior Maddy Maler recorded nine assists in the final match of her career.
Head coach Jen Salmon said that there was "no question of heart" in the consecutive-set loss. She said that Cortland played well and did not allow many opportunities for the Knights on offense.
Galvin said that the team "felt pretty confident" going into the match. Part of that confidence, Galvin said, could be from the change of mindset on the team.
After a 1-10 start to Salmon's first year at Geneseo, the team started making strides to becoming a winning team. They won 11 of their next 25 games before exiting in the first round last year to the same Cortland Red Dragons.
Salmon said her team has adapted to her coaching and "jumped onto [the] bandwagon." She credits this mental improvement and change of mindset in the team to this year's seniors. "The reason why we were able to succeed this year is due to the seniors and their leadership," she said.
The conference recognized junior setter Krista Frieling as a member of first-team All-SUNYAC. Galvin received SUNYAC West Rookie of the Year honors, as well as second-team All-SUNYAC.
Both Salmon and players said they look forward to training in the spring and toward the Fall 2010 season. Salmon said she believes the team improves the most during the spring seasons, due to more individual coaching time. She also gave credit to the team for changing the entire outlook for the volleyball program.
The team wants to continue their upward trend, Galvin said: "It's the beginning. There's way more to come. This year's just the turning point."