This year in Geneseo sports: fall

Senior midfielder Matt D’Amico looks to send the ball up the field during a game against SUNY Oswego. Despite having a younger roster, the men finished off strong with a record of 9-7-2. (Ash Dean/Photo Editor)

The first few weeks of the fall semester are difficult, as students adjust to new weather, a new place to live and new classes. The campus should be excited for the fall 2017 sports, however, as revealed by the successes of Geneseo’s fall 2016 athletes.

A staple of accolades during the fall season for years has been the Geneseo cross country team. 2016 was no different; the Knights finished in the top 10 in every meet they participated in apart from the Rochester Invitational in September. 

The men’s and women’s teams had runners accept All-SUNYAC and national honors. In addition, both teams won the SUNYAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship in Kentucky, where the men finished second and the women third in an impressive fashion—solidifying themselves as one of best programs in the country.

The fan favorite soccer program, too, had another promising season on the men’s and women’s side. The men finished the season above .500. The men’s highlight of the season may have been when senior defender Brad Campion was named SUNYAC Men’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. The women’s team had a successful season, too, although they ultimately lost in the SUNYAC finals.

The volleyball team had another extremely successful season as well, advancing to the SUNYAC Tournament. There, they proceeded past SUNY Fredonia in the quarterfinals, eventually losing in the semis to SUNY Brockport, 3-1. 

The Geneseo equestrian team also had a very positive season, the highlight of which was when senior Anna Brogan and junior Samantha Childs both took third place at the regional championships.

Maybe the most impressive turnaround of the season, however, belongs to the Geneseo field hockey team. To say they had a rough start to the season would be an understatement, as they lost eight of their first nine games. 

Following their loss to St. John Fisher College in September, they were able to go on an eight-game winning streak and ultimately defeated SUNY Oneonta 3-2 to become SUNYAC champions. 

Fall sports at Geneseo are fostering a tradition of success and excellence, which the students and faculty can look forward to. It is a point of consistency that always marks the beginning of any semester to help the campus find their stride. 

Volleyball makes SUNYACs for first time in five years

It has been a good week for the Geneseo volleyball team. The team recently qualified for the SUNYACs for the first time since 2011, as the No. 5 seed. In their quarterfinal matchup versus the No. 4 seed SUNY Fredonia, the Knights won to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday Nov. 1.

The team has had a good season, going 17-14 overall and 5-4 in conference play. They will face SUNY Brockport on Friday Nov. 4 in the semifinals at 7 p.m.

“It’s surreal. It’s truly an indescribable feeling. And to feel the support of an entire athletic department, campus and community behind you is even more amazing,” senior captain Tricia Baxley said in an email.

Fredonia was tough competition for the Knights, but it will be a whole different game to play when the Knights face off against Brockport for the semifinals. Brockport finished their regular season with a record of 30-3 and went 9-0 in conference play. In their previous game against Brockport on Oct. 8, the Knights lost 3 sets to 1.

“I think we can absolutely win SUNYACs; there is nothing more motivating than knowing that other teams out there don’t think you can do it, and there’s nothing more fulfilling than proving people wrong,” Baxley said.

While it’s the first time in five years that the Knights qualified for the SUNYACs, Baxley believed that it was going to be a special season right from the beginning.

“Although GSUVB has always been a team with great chemistry, it just felt different this year; any player can look to their left or right and trust the person next to them to get the job done, and that’s so important whether it’s in practice or when the game is on the line,” Baxley said.

While adjusting to the college level for any sport can be difficult, that just wasn’t the case this year with the volleyball team in regard to new players.

“There was no hiccup at all when [the freshmen] first arrived on campus for preseason in August. They stepped right into their roles with confidence, respect and humility,” Baxley said.

Even if the Knights don’t win on Friday, it won’t change the fact that the Knights had an amazing season. For the seniors, though, the semifinals against Brockport could mark their last game as a Knight.

“Four years goes by too quickly and I wish I had one more, but I know that every time I look back on the season that we made it to SUNYACs and proved people wrong I will smile,” Baxley said.

With such a talented freshman class, the SUNYACs could become a norm for the team.

“Not only is each individual team a family, but the athletic department as a whole is a family. Through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, you can count on any and all teams for support,” Baxley said.

This is something that not many teams, let alone colleges, can say. When you have chemistry like that, anything can happen.

Volleyball prepares for tough competition

A crucial week awaits the Geneseo volleyball team, as the playoff season quickly approaches. The Knights, who ended their conference play with a 5-4 record, have clinched the fifth seed in the SUNYAC Tournament. This will be the first time the Knights have made the playoffs under head coach Amber Dun, who is on her second year. Following a disappointing 16-18 season with no playoff appearance last year, Dunn made sure to make improvements on the court this year. “I set off to find players that could bring us to that level—the playoffs,” Dunn said.

Despite clinching the fifth seed in the SUNYAC Tournament, the Knights still have a few more out-of-conference games—none of which are an easy feat. “I purposely tried to schedule tricky non-conference games in the week leading up to the playoffs to better prepare ourselves if we got in,” Dunn said.

The team will be traveling to Saratoga on Friday Oct. 28 for the Skidmore Invitational. There, they will face Union College, Skidmore College and Ithaca College to end the regular season. Geneseo is looking sharp heading into the invitational, having won four of its last five games. “Right now, we are doing really well,” Dunn said. “We are peaking at a great time in the season.”

As the fifth seed, the Knights will take on the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils. These two teams faced off earlier this season, resulting in a 3-1 loss for Geneseo. It is, however, important to note that some of the key players for the Knights were unable to play due to sustained injuries at this match. Furthermore, since the beginning of the season, the team has improved their overall dynamic and has become much stronger in doing so.

“Fredonia can expect to see a completely different team,” Dunn said.

Certain college sports, including volleyball, tend to play most of their games on the road due to tournament and invitational style events. Although the away game at Fredonia will continue this trend, Dunn does not think that this will play a large impact in the game, as the Knights have a great amount of experience playing on the road.

In addition, Dunn noted that there is always the added pressure to win when playing in front of the home crowd, which the Knights will not have to face for the SUNYAC Tournament or Skidmore Invitational. Regardless of where the game is played, this matchup is sure to be a good one and is vital for both teams.

The Knights will face the Blue Devils in Fredonia on Tuesday Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.

Volleyball celebrates senior game success

The Geneseo volleyball team has hit a stride this season, obtaining a four-game winning streak on top of defeating five out of their last six matches, which included a 3-0 victory over SUNY Farmingdale on Saturday Oct. 1. The win was the icing on the cake for the Knights’ senior day, where they celebrated the collegiate volleyball careers of four talented senior athletes.

“The underclassmen are always excited to celebrate, and for the seniors it’s great because they’ve put in three or four solid years of hard work and it looks like some light at the end of the tunnel,” head coach Amber Dunn said.

As the college heads into the highly anticipated fall break, the Knights are preparing for their next SUNYAC pool play, which will be at SUNY New Paltz. With games on Friday Oct. 7 and Saturday Oct. 8, Dunn plans for the team to compete but also to enjoy their fall break.

By playing in New Paltz, Dunn is actually doing her downstate players a favor. About half of the team hails from Long Island, so after the tournament they are free to go home, which will save them a long ride from Geneseo.

“[This is] the one bigger break that they’ll get in the middle of the season because volleyball is really a 10-week season that goes every single weekend,” Dunn said.

While a break in a winning streak may seem threating to their momentum, the Knights aren’t worried about that. Instead, they choose to think positively, seeing it for what it is: a break.

“It’ll be a good time for us. You figure at this point last week they were starting to get into their exams, and it’ll give them good family time, but [also] a good opportunity to catch back up on academic work too,” Dunn said.

With six freshmen on the team, the amped up atmosphere of this stressful time in the semester shows positively in the gym, rather than affecting their performance.

“They are really starting to hit that peak and go on the up and up, looking forward to what’s coming next,” Dunn said.

The typical practice routine combines individual skills with playing as a team. The first half of practice is spent on serve and pass—especially defensive and individual ball control skills—and a variety of different drills. Sometimes Dunn uses specific drills that will help them for their next matchup, even though it isn’t explicitly explained to the team. The second half of the practice focuses on competitive drills and putting the skills they’ve worked on to the test.

The Knights look to take the skills they’ve practiced to the court in their competitions against New Paltz, SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Brockport over break, where they will continue to put their skills to the test.

Volleyball’s younger players step up

The Knights traveled to SUNY Potsdam from Friday Sept. 23-24 to compete in the SUNYAC Pool Play tournament of the season. The team defeated Potsdam 3-0 and SUNY Oswego 3-1, but lost 3-1 to SUNY Fredonia. “The team did well this past weekend. We had a couple players step up and do some nice things,” head coach Amber Dunn said. “As a team, we had some challenges to work through with the continued list of injuries that has taken its effect on us this season, but it forced our youth to take on big leadership roles.”

The Knights have had to look upon their younger players for added strength this season, but the SUNYAC Pool Play showed how much their hard work has been paying off. “Overall, it was great getting our first years introduced to SUNYAC Conference play and [to] come out of it doing things well,” Dunn said.

One issue with the SUNYAC Pool Play is that the team is forced to play three matches in less than 24 hours. This isn’t even taking into account the added travel time to Potsdam. This takes a toll on all of the athletes, but the Knights were able to handle it well.

“We certainly adapted and found ways to be successful,” Dunn said.

This was also an invaluable experience for the team because they were able to confront new situations and face new teams, all of which will help them to improve as the season goes on. It also allowed the team to show off some of the strengths that Dunn has been praising—particularly their defense. Dunn said that the defenders have really increased the level of competition on defense, as well as with the rest of the team.

The entire team performed well, but some individual players stood out and had excellent weekends. Freshman outside hitter Grace Cergol, for instance, won Geneseo’s Female Athlete of the Week. She was crucial to the team’s success against Alfred State College and continued to shine in SUNYAC Pool Play, contributing a 10 kill/12 dig match in the win against Oswego and a 13 kill/13 dig match in the loss against Fredonia.

Freshman middle blocker Kat Vernon also stepped up in her first SUNYAC Pool Play weekend, and it was her third appearance as a starter. “[Vernon] did well with 5 kills and 4 blocks for the weekend,” Dunn said.

It was inevitable that there would be a learning curve associated with having so many young players, but it seems that the freshman have learned pretty quickly and have helped turn Geneseo volleyball into a force to be reckoned with.

The Knights play again on Thursday Sept. 29 at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and come back home to play on Saturday Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. versus Farmingdale State College.

Volleyball exhibits potential for 2016 season

So far this season, the volleyball team has “relied heavily on [the] first-year players,” head coach Amber Dunn said. With a rigorous start opening in a tournament in Alliance, Ohio, the team saw extreme talent early. They played against some of the top 25 best teams in the country and they’ve brought back that experience to Geneseo and their regular season games. Geneseo volleyball currently has six freshmen players on their 15-player roster, so it’s safe to say these incoming players have had quite an impact on the program this season. Many of these freshmen are seeing playing time on a regular basis, which is often considered atypical in collegiate sports. Dunn believes, however, that they are adjusting to the faster pace and higher level of play well. Of course, behind these successful freshmen is a solid foundation of returning players, all of whom have been invaluable to the team, both on and off the court.

“The current senior class has been doing a great job of utilizing their strengths to be the best leaders for the program,” Dunn said. “Again, they are really excited about the program and its development. I don’t question whether they’re here for the right reasons or not.”

Having such an enthusiastic team has definitely impressed Dunn, who speaks about her team with pride. “Our small group of returners have done a great job guiding our underclassmen and showing great character values to lay the foundation of Geneseo volleyball,” Dunn said.

Other teams are at risk to underestimate the Knights because of their youth and relatively inexperienced players. The team, however, is prepared to shatter expectations. They anticipate improvement as their freshmen become increasingly comfortable with this new atmosphere. Dunn believes that the potential is certainly there, and with a little more sharpening this team will be even stronger.

“There is a great deal of teaching and learning taking place in the gym right now and each day we add another skill to our tool box,” Dunn said. “We are still learning and developing our game plan at this point. Staying consistent and continuing to strengthen the plan moving forward is just what we plan to do.”

The Knights are also very grateful for the support they receive from the Geneseo community. They love playing at home because it eliminates travel time, but also because when playing in Geneseo’s gym they have a fan base, primarily consisting of family and friends.

The team is also lucky to be bonding not only with fans, but amongst themselves, for they have been both cultivating team sportsmanship and friendship. Dunn was happy to say that she does not need to mandate many team bonding activities.

“They are such a close-knit group that a lot of the team bonding takes place without the coaching staff asking the team to spend time together,” Dunn said.

Bearing that in mind, the Knights look to work as a team when they take down SUNY Fredonia at SUNY Potsdam on Friday Sept. 23, competing for SUNYAC Pool Play.

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.

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Volleyball looks to close SUNYAC play with home wins

The Geneseo volleyball team looks to finish SUNYAC play with a winning record when they face SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Fredonia from Friday Oct. 23–Saturday Oct. 24. Geneseo has a 2-4 record in conference play; winning these three upcoming games could put them at 5-4 in the conference and should put them in fifth place upon the seasons’ end.

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Volleyball holds its own in SUNYAC play

The Geneseo volleyball team has been progressing in the right direction with a 3-2 win over Alfred State College on Saturday Oct. 3. The Knights came out firing on all cylinders, with senior middle Paige Pendleton and junior outside hitter Tricia Baxley having 11 and 10 kills respectively. Junior defensive specialist Danielle Sayler recorded 15 digs on the day, while freshman setter Sarah Bain added 12 digs. Head coach Amber Dunn was confident in her team’s style of play and preached that this was the start of something positive.

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Volleyball looks for first SUNYAC title

The Geneseo volleyball team has started SUNYAC play off strong, going 2-1 in their first weekend. They not only defeated SUNY Plattsburgh and Buffalo State, but they even took a match away from powerhouse SUNY New Paltz in a losing effort.

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Volleyball looks strong at midway point in season

The Geneseo women’s volleyball team has been going through a transitional period this fall—more so than years past. With a new coach, new players and a schedule that has them playing every weekend for about two months straight, it can be taxing both mentally and physically. After a weekend with a 2-2 record, however, the Knights are looking in a positive direction.

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Knights look forward with new coach

Geneseo’s volleyball program has had its share of up-and-down seasons. Now, Geneseo has hired a new head coach in Amber Dunn. Dunn has begun her first year at the helm of the Knights’ volleyball team and she could not be more excited about it.

“The expectations coming into the season were high because where I come from in the Midwest, volleyball is played all the time at an intense level,” Dunn said. “I am excited to see what the players bring to the table and I want them to give me everything they have—and I am going to give it my best.”

Dunn came to Geneseo after being the assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She left a team that was always a top contender in the NCAA Tournament, including reaching the Final Four the past two seasons. Dunn explained that this is a different challenge not only for her, but also for the players and the Geneseo community.

“In terms of where we are at, there are going to be a lot of changes, but we are well on our way to rebuilding the foundation of the program,” she said. “We want the community to know that this is a fresh start and that we are going to put our best effort out there every game of the season. It will not be easy, but we are ready for the obstacles ahead and it’s about finding our identity during this season to set the standard for the future.”

Dunn has a lot of returning players; there are only four freshmen and no sophomores. The rest of the roster is filled with experienced upper-class players. These players will also have to face the adjustment of a new coaching system, one that is drastically different than previous years’.

“The biggest difference between this year’s team and other teams I have been on is that players are used to the old way, so trying to get them to learn the new way can be difficult, but we are definitely getting there,” Dunn said. “The advanced skills are all there, but some of the foundation and fundamentals still need to be improved on until they are second nature.”

The Knights look to improve on an 18-9 record, but they lost seven out of 10 games at the end of the season. Conference play does not look any easier, but with players who are eager to learn and achieve and a coach steering them in the right direction, the Knights will be a team to look out for.

“I could not be more blessed with the players that I have. Every day, they show up with a positive attitude and show that they want to put the work in to be successful, which definitely makes my job a lot easier,” Dunn said. “I think this is a special team and I am excited just as much as the rest of the Geneseo community to see what we can accomplish this season.”

Volleyball ends season with weekend split

At the close of its season, the Geneseo volleyball team finished with an overall record of 18-9. The team didn’t do as well as it had hoped on Saturday Nov. 1, beating St. John Fisher College 3-1, but falling to Hiram College 3-1. Hiram is one of the most competitive teams in Division III women’s volleyball, however––just being able to take a set from them was an accomplishment for the Knights.

“The girls definitely overall played well against Fisher,” head coach Jennifer Salmon said. “They had a little bit of a flat … we lost a set against Fisher, but then were able to rebound and win three, which is nice. I think defensively we played really well. Aggressive serving helped us.”

The foundation of the team is tricky to pinpoint, considering there are so many factors to the team’s improvement over the previous season. The strength of that foundation, however, is undeniable. “The foundation that they laid and the groundwork is solid,” Salmon said. “I am looking forward to building on it.”

Even though the team didn’t make it to the postseason, Salmon and the team remain positive. The team is focused on the vast array of improvements it has made as a whole.

“We have a lot to be proud of and have a lot to remember this season by,” Salmon said. “If our curve goes at the same rate, it’s going to be a dominant year [next season].”

Even though the end result was not ideal, Salmon emphasized how proud she was of her team.

“Although our season has come to an end, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to coach this amazing group of young women,” she said. “The joy I feel watching the team of wonderful individuals create a special bond and truly love, value and care for each other is an invaluable experience that I will always cherish.”

The team has undoubtedly worked hard to have accomplished what it has this season. It will be interesting to see if the group can maintain some of its momentum and get back into the postseason next year.

“The strides made, accomplishments achieved, records obtained and memories created––this year will forever be in our hearts,” Salmon said.

Volleyball eliminated from playoffs despite hot start

The Geneseo volleyball team suffered quite the letdown on Saturday Oct. 25, coming up short against some of the best teams in SUNYAC. “[We’re] disappointed. Very disappointed,” head coach Jennifer Salmon said. “We had a couple of losses going into Saturday Oct. 25 that were crucial because we relied heavily on that day with the top two teams in the conference we were playing against.”

Starting on Oct. 24, the Knights played against three different schools and although they lost the matches, they showed vast improvements. The inconsistency of the team, however, is something that the players are continuing to work on. That proved to be a major vulnerability throughout the three games.

“I saw some really great volleyball from the girls—it just wasn’t consistent enough,” Salmon said. “There were some key errors … key moments that lost us a set, then a match, but I saw some great things as well.”

Although the team performed impressively, the losses ended their chances of going to the playoffs.

The team is positive nonetheless. Even though the squad won’t be playing in the SUNYAC tournament, there are still a few big matches coming up that will ultimately aid the team in its fine-tuning efforts.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Salmon said. “We’re turning a negative to a positive as we approach these last few matches with the aggressive mindset of wanting to end on a high note with a few wins.”

A bad weekend does not make a bad team. The Knights went from 13 wins in the 2013 season to 17 wins three-quarters of the way through this season.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad,” Salmon said.

The metamorphosis of the team has been quite extraordinary, and it only brings wonder as to what the Knights will bring to the table next season.

“We’re a very young team, I keep reminding myself of that,” Salmon said. “Even though we have a few juniors on the roster, they’re technically sophomores [by eligibility]… this team only has a year and a half of college experience under their belt. That’s so exciting for the future.”

The volleyball team is continuing to make improvements to better themselves in their positions, on and off the court.

“We have to be able to move on and take that disappointment into a productive mentality moving forward for the last three matches of the season, which I know the girls can do,” Salmon said.

Volleyball confident heading into pool play

The Geneseo volleyball team has been successful by any standard this season. Still, there is work to be done. “We’ve been doing a lot of fine-tuning in regards to specific skills and specific things we need to execute a lot better,” head coach Jennifer Salmon said. “We’ve had the time to work on those.”

In SUNYAC pool play on Oct. 2, the women’s volleyball team will be playing two top teams: SUNY Fredonia and SUNY New Paltz. Still, the team’s confidence is as strong as ever.

“I feel like we can be 5-2 going into Saturday [after we play SUNY Oswego on Friday Oct 24],” Salmon said.

Accompanied by its “Ohana” motto, the team’s confidence is critical in determining its success. With only two new team members, the Knights were able to develop an intense chemistry with one another on and off the court.

Although they are going up against the top two teams in the conference, the team remains unfazed. Salmon is ready to to see how the girls match up.

“I’m excited about the Fredonia and New Paltz matches because they’re both really good competition,” she said. “I feel like we can compete and win one at least, if not two.”

Compared to last season, the Knights are a completely different team. At this point last year, Geneseo was already out of contention for a SUNYAC title.

“Going into the last weekend of Oct. 25 in 2013 we were 1-5,” Salmon said. “Now, we’re 4-2.”

Rather than letting nerves descend on the team, members have been buzzing with excitement. The Knights will face off with St. John Fisher College and Hiram College––a top team in the Ohio region––on Nov. 1.

All in all, the team is proving to be a force to be reckoned with as they continue to blaze a trail to redemption from two subpar seasons.

“The girls have continued to stay motivated and have been working really hard,” Salmon said.

Knights win two in opening weekend

The Geneseo volleyball team continued to leave competitors in the dust as the Knights went 2-1 in their first SUNYAC games of the season. The most important moment in the SUNYAC pool play wasn’t the loss against Buffalo State—the most important moment is deeply rooted in the Knights win against SUNY Plattsburgh. The last time Geneseo played Plattsburgh, the Knights lost 3-1.

The loss against Buffalo was a tough one. Despite the Bengals having a record of 9-7 going into the game against Geneseo, it was a hard-fought match,

“Each set was close,” head coach Jennifer Salmon said. “It was kind of like back and forth, competitive match for sure. It was a good kind of wake-up call for us in regards to what specifically we need to work on to prepare for our next three conference matchups.”

It’s definitely a good idea for the Knights to prepare for their upcoming games––this is a team that went from a 13-19 record last season to a very impressive 15-3 start this year. As the squad continues to work, a key will be its humble approach when playing the game.

“We have a lot of time to work on things,” Salmon said. “One thing I’d like to work on is endurance. I think we did get fatigued toward the end of that Buffalo State match, so we’re going to work on fitness in regards to being able to outlast our opponents.”

Although the Knights do not have a game for another couple of weeks, they are still hard at work improving the skills they have honed over this season.

“There’s always specific skills that we can improve on,” Salmon said. “I feel like you’re never perfect in any skill.”

Salmon is excited to continue the so-far successful season.

“We didn’t perform as well as we hoped to against Buffalo, but I am happy overall with the weekend,” she said. “I felt like it was a really good opening week for us.”

Spotlight on the Knight: Paige Pendleton

The Geneseo Knights volleyball team is off to a hot start thanks in large part to the play of junior Paige Pendleton. The 6-foot-1 middle from Oneida, New York is putting up career bests in kills per set at 1.86 and a hitting percentage of .297—impressive numbers for a team that has launched out to a 13-2 start, its best in recent years. But it is Pendleton’s off the court achievements that she says have contributed to the play this season. Pendleton participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Volleyball program this summer as an intern. The FCA is an organization aimed to connect the youth with their faith. For 10 weeks this summer in California, the 18 interns would connect through their two passions: faith and volleyball.

“The main goal of FCA was being able to show kids that you can incorporate faith into sports, whether it be volleyball or any other sport,” Pendleton said. The FCA internship program consisted of college volleyball players from Division 1 through Division III. The first month consisted of sand volleyball workouts and the second month was for indoor court work.

“There were different responsibilities within each intern group,” she said. “Connecting with professional athletes who are strong in Christian faith and also working to show kids the positives of practicing your Christian faith [were some].”

Pendleton and the other interns spent about five weeks running four camps in California, which concluded with a large camp on the east coast with about 350 high school girls in South Carolina.

“I look to be a positive leader on the team, but at the same time we are all increasing our roles and all becoming leaders,” Pendleton said. “Everyone on this team has shown leadership ability, and we seem to be flowing and coming together.”

Pendleton and the Knights start SUNYAC play this weekend with a tournament at SUNY Oswego.

Volleyball prepares for start of SUNYAC play

To the untrained eye, or relying on stats alone, the Geneseo women’s volleyball team seems consistent, confident and committed, yet unrecognizable. With only two new members of the team, the majority of the Knights are returning athletes. So the question that naturally comes to mind is: what changed? Head coach Jennifer Salmon and junior defensive specialist Jia Sha believe that it cannot be pinpointed to one thing. Winning three of four games played Sept. 19 through Saturday Sept. 20, Geneseo was not deterred. Instead, the team took the experience from its one loss and applied it to the next two victories.

“We’re very good at composing ourselves, getting the job done and picking each other up,” Sha said. “The dynamic of the team is just helpful. It’s positive and easy to work around.”

The family aspect of the team is something that Salmon recognizes as a key contributor in the team’s success. “Our motto is ‘ohana,’ which means family and nobody gets left behind or forgotten,” Salmon said. “We’re all about being a family. I think that [is] … the reason why we are so successful this year.”

With the SUNYAC games quickly approaching, the team is buzzing with excitement. On Friday Sept. 26 and Saturday Sept. 27, the Knights will square off with SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Brockport and Buffalo State and Sha said they are thrilled to be able to see how they match up against each team.

“I’m really confident and excited to see how we face against everyone,” Sha said. “We’ve played teams this year that we lost to last year and we utterly defeated them, so this year I feel like it’s a brand new team.”

The Knights remain unfazed with an improved skillset and an appetite for success. They welcome the challenge the upcoming conference games will bring.

“If the other team gets a four point run, we don’t freak out and think that all hope is lost,” Sha said. “We pick ourselves up and … get the work done. We work harder… we don’t give up and we lay our hearts on the court and we strive to win as a team and win as a family.”

The Knights are definitely a new team with a new, winning attitude. Of course, it needs to continue in SUNYAC play for the team to truly be successful.

“This is the first weekend to show SUNYAC all about what Geneseo volleyball has evolved into,” Sha said. “I think that’s the whole essence of this weekend. Not showing off, but showing up.”

Volleyball remains positive after first loss

After an 18-year National Hockey League career, center Saku Koivu has decided to hang up the skates for good. His career consisted of two All-Star Game selections as well as being tied for the longest reigning captain in Montreal Canadiens history. He was also the first European-born player to ever lead the Habs onto the ice. He wore the C on his chest for Montreal for 14 years.

Koivu’s accomplishments, how mrever, are eclipsed by what was one of the most trying times in Canadiens history. Prior to the 2001-02 season, Koivu was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and was expected to miss the entire season undergoing treatment.

In one of the Canadiens last games of season on April 9, 2002, Koivu laced up his skates and took the ice as the captain. He received an eight-minute standing ovation in the Belle Centre without a dry eye in the house. Koivu took the opening faceoff despite being on the roster as the 4th-line center.

In the 2002-03 season, Koivu posted a career-high 71 points (21 goals, 50 assists) and had nearly the best season of his career. Not only did he overcome cancer, he went one step further and put together one of the greatest campaigns in NHL history. That season is one of the most inspiring stories in sports history.

Koivu achieved more than just remission in his NHL career. He played in over 1,000 games, scored over 250 goals and had over 575 assists. Koivu wasn’t a typical, one-dimensional scorer that hockey frequently sees today. His game was a circle of assets—he kept an arsenal of skills and maneuvers to peak the potential of his game. In his prime, Koivu’s ice knowledge was as good as anyone’s in the league. His intangibles brought a winning atmosphere that brought the Habs together in the 2000s. Although he retired as an Anaheim Duck, Koivu will always be remembered as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Number 11 will go down in history as one of the most inspiring men to play the game. His dedication, admiration and selflessness brought him a lucrative and exciting career as an NHL player. Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, what Koivu accomplished on and off the ice is deserving of the utmost respect.

Team chemistry boosts women's volleyball

The Knights volleyball team continues to impress this season. The team moved to 7-0 after sweeping the Houghton College Highlanders (25-21, 25-20, 25-16) at home on Tuesday Sept. 9. Sophomore libero Dani Sayler, a defensive specialist, had 10 kills on the evening and contributed heavily to the Knights’ sweep. “I think I did well,” Sayler said. “[I’m] getting back into the flow of things, coming off of surgery this year … Getting back was my ultimate goal.” Sayler noted that part of the team’s early success comes from pre-game routines and team camaraderie.

“In our team room we blast music and have a little dance party,” she said. “It helps me and my teammates prepare.”

The Knights have a dynamic mix of players from several years here at Geneseo. Sayler believes that this close-knit group of players is an important part of their success. From talking to the players and observing how they interact on the court, one can see how close they all are. Sayler believes their chemistry, both on and off the court, is a large factor in the teams’ success so far.

“[My teammates] are some of my best friends here. I live with most of them and we are a family,” Sayler said. The Knights have swept all but one of their matches so far this season. As the libero, Sayler can be seen moving quickly around the court trying to cover all of the responsibilities the position calls for. She stated that her most memorable play of the match was a dig at the end of the third game that helped secure the victory. A dig is when a player stops a spike or a serve from the opposing team from hitting the ground. When talking about being undefeated this season, Slayer was ecstatic.

“It’s so hard to describe the feeling,” she said. “Especially coming off of last season [with a 13-19 record], it’s great just to come out strong.” The Knights will try to remain undefeated when they face Medaille College, Clarkson University and St. John Fisher College at the Rochester Institute Of Technology Tournament starting on Friday Sept. 12.