UTICA, NY – The SUNYIT women's volleyball team celebrated its Senior Day with a 3-0 victory over local rival Utica College while also raising thousands of dollars during the "pink" match at the Campus Center Gymnasium Wednesday night. The Wildcats improved to 9-7 on the year, while Utica fell to 1-18.
Before the match, seniors Courtney Ruether (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone) and Nicole Higgins (Sellersville, PA/Pennridge) were recognized for their contributions to the team during the past four seasons. Ruether is currently second in program history in both career matches and games played and will most likely be first in both categories by the end of the season. The 5-foot-7 middle hitter is also currently fourth all-time in career kills, digs and serve aces.
Higgins is the program's all-time leader in both career serve aces and assists, while also holding the top three spots for most assists in a season. She will finish behind Ruether as second all-time in both career matches and games played, while currently being fifth all-time in both digs and blocks. Additionally, she set the program records for most assists in a game with 50 last season and for most digs in a game with 34 in 2007.
The Lady Wildcats then cruised to their third victory over Utica this season. Junior Juleah Vedder (Dolgeville, NY/Dolgeville) led the way with 13 kills, seven digs and two serve aces, while freshman Kaitlyn Harrington (Central Square, NY/Paul V. Moore) had team-highs of 10 digs and five serve aces to go along with eight kills. Higgins tallied 28 assists and four serve aces, while Ruether finished with five kills, three digs and one serve ace.
The contest was also a "pink" match, with the Lady Wildcats wearing pink uniforms during the match and then auctioning them off shortly at the conclusion of the contest. The event was in conjunction with the Side-Out Foundation's "DiG PiNk" campaign, a breast cancer awareness rally being held all of October to raise awareness and funds. The auction earned $415, while the team's donation page on Side-Out's Web site raised $1,060. A bake sale, Chinese Raffle, T-Shirts and remembrance balloons brought in another $630 to bring the total raised to $2,105 on the night, and the team will still be working towards raising its goal of $3,000 by the end of the month. Donations can be made here.
The Wildcats will be back in action this weekend when they travel to participate in the Oswego Tournament. They will take on D'Youville at 6:00 pm and Utica at 8:00 pm on Friday before taking on Medaille and Oswego on Saturday, with the times of those matches yet to be determined.