Volleyball vastly improves during Ohio tournament, Cergol and Mendelsohn achieve career milestones

Following their disappointing start to the season, the Knights were able to impressively right the ship during their visit to Ohio for the Case Western Reserve Invitational. In addition to that, they surpassed an out-of-conference powerhouse team from University of Rochester to win the season’s home opener on Tuesday Sept. 10.

Prior to the game against Rochester, the Knights had an undefeated weekend in Cleveland, Ohio where they beat Thiel College, Washington and Jefferson College and Case Western Reserve University. The successful string of matches improved Geneseo’s record to .500 for the season. 

In the match against Thiel, senior outside hitter Grace Cergol totaled 16 kills and four service aces to lead the Knights to a three-set sweep to take the match victory on the invitational’s first night of action on Friday Sept. 6. 

Additionally, senior libero Sam Mendelsohn finished with a team-high 13 digs and first-year setter Grace Thomas compiled 22 assists, along with six digs, to help the team pick up their first win of the season. 

The Knights won two matches on Saturday Sept. 7 to close the Case Western Reserve Tournament. 

In their first match, against Washington & Jefferson, Cergol and senior outside hitter Abby May both recorded seven kills. First-year middle blocker Jackie Borland dominated with four blocks at the net, Thomas kept the play alive with 13 digs and Mendelsohn was hot from the service line with four aces.

Sweeping Washington & Jefferson by set scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-14, brought the Knights to their final match of the invitational, where they faced the host Case Western Reserve Spartans. The battle was more evenly matched, but the Knights won the race to three sets after Case Western Reserve came out hot and took the first two. 

Sophomore outside hitter Maddi McLaughlin recorded a match-high 16 kills. In addition, first-year defensive specialist Emily Haber recorded 19 digs, another match-high, and Thomas served three aces. 

Following the tournament sweep, the Knights won their home opener against Rochester in three sets with scores of 25-24, 25-27 and 25-18.  

Game highlights include yet another dominating performance by Cergol; with a match-leading 15 kills, two service aces and three digs which helped propel her team to victory. Junior outside hitter Alex Frank got in on the action and recorded ten digs and two aces. Thomas had 41 assists while adding four kills, seven digs and one service ace.

Cergol has been an unchecked force at the net since she first donned a Knights uniform in 2016. She has climbed the ranks of Geneseo’s career kills list, attaining second place with 1,298 following the conclusion of the match against Rochester. Similarly, Mendelsohn notched her own career achievement by becoming the second player in program history to eclipse the 1,400-dig plateau with 1,417 career digs. The two are solidifying their positions among Geneseo’s greats.

Cergol and Mendelsohn’s dominance aren’t the only reasons to rejoice. Not only have the Knights won their last four games, but McLaughlin was named PrestoSports athlete of the week. McLaughlin recorded eight kills on 15 swings with no errors—good for a .533 attack percentage—and added four digs and two blocks, plus five kills, in the match against Washington & Jefferson. She then posted a team-best 16 kills on just 28 swings during the Knights’ 3-2 match win over Case Western.