Volleyball fails to make SUNYAC Tournament

The Geneseo volleyball team ended their season on Saturday Oct. 24, falling to SUNY Oswego 3-2 and SUNY Fredonia 3-1 after defeating SUNY Potsdam 3-0 on Friday Oct. 23. Geneseo needed to win all three games in order to secure a spot in the SUNYAC Tournament. With the season over, the Knights say goodbye to five seniors, all of whom have been key to the team’s success over their careers here.

Among the seniors are middle blockers Paige Pendleton and Paige O’Connor—who contributed 288 and 85 kills respectively this season—and setter Bethany VanDerMeid, who had 578 attacks on the year. Outside hitter Lizzy Morton was fourth on the team in total attacks, while libero Jia Sha also provided unmatched talent to this young team. With the season’s conclusion, Pendleton reflected on her four-year experience with positivity.

“It was hard this past weekend; coming out of our last game knowing that it determined whether we got into playoffs or not,” Pendleton said. “We wanted the win so badly and there was so much heart put into every conference game we had. At the end of the day, we can say we put it all on the line and that is all that matters.”

Pendleton added that the team showed signs of promise and that the future of the program looks bright with head coach Amber Dunn at the helm.

“I think we can all say we saw improvement individually and as a team. Coach Dunn really brought so much to our team. Skill-wise and culture-wise, she is changing this program for the better,” Pendleton said. “I am really excited for a few years from now to see what coach Dunn has done with the program. I know Geneseo will be a threat in the conference in the future because of all the work she has—and will—put into the program. This season was the beginning of a change in the volleyball program here and I was lucky to be a part of it.”

As for the rest of the Knights’ team, they have a strong returning junior class who will look to step into the senior position next season. With libero Danielle Sayler—who led the team with 411 digs—and outside hitter Tricia Baxley—who led the team in total attempts—the Knights will have a solid attack next year. 

Combining Sayler and Baxley with junior middle blocker Courtney Cleary and junior right side hitters Emma Lannon and Maddie Palmer, Geneseo has a strong upperclassmen representation going into next season. Sayler agreed that this season is the stepping-stone for future years.

“I think the season went well. I think that coach has taught us a lot about the game. We spent a lot of time in the beginning getting those solid fundamentals back,” Sayler said. “The front row has also learned how to be unpredictable with their shots, improving blocking and making the right decisions. We have a solid group returning and we are looking forward to an incoming class that can help push us and make everyone better.”