MARCY, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Women's Volleyball Team used the home court to full advantage on Friday, winning their first two home matches of the season as part of the two-day Wildcat Classic. SUNYIT rode the home crowd bump to a 3-2 win over Sage and 3-0 over Old Westbury.
"It was nice to be finally playing at home," said Wildcat Head Coach Jake Bluhm, "after being on the road for so long, it definitely gave us a boost."
SUNYIT set the tone in their first game with Sage, rallying from seven down at one point to take the set 25-21. The comeback was a portent of things to come, as every time SUNYIT seemed in danger of losing the momentum, the team came up with big points, big rallies, and big sets.
After dropping the second set 25-23, SUNYIT rebounded in a big way, winning the third set 25-18. A hard-fought fourth set saw Sage edge the Wildcats for a 25-22 win, but once again SUNYIT used the loss to catapult them forward, winning the deciding fifth set 15-9.
Team co-captain Kaityln Harrington (Central Square, N.Y. / Central Square) led the team in both action and spirit, registering a game-high 18 kills while urging her team forward after every defeat. Her fellow captain Taviot Jackowski (LaFayette, N.Y. / LaFayette) seconded the message by going for a whopping 44 assists and 6 digs.
"We came out on fire," said Coach Bluhm, "we're starting to really gel as a team, and our defense was lights out; the girls were hustling after every ball, and overall just played very disciplined defense."
The Gators, for their part, gave SUNYIT a run for their money. Leading the charge was Helen Putriment, who finished the match with team-highs in kills (10) and digs (11). Along the way, Helen picked up her 500th career kill, receiving a standing ovation from both teams and their fans.
On the other side of the field house, the RIT Tigers battled the Cazenovia Wildcats in the tournament's other 4:00 pm match. The heavily favored Tigers made quick work of the Wildcats in three sets, 25-21, 25-6, and 25-15.
SUNYIT got a break for the 6:00 pm matches. On Court 1, the two teams with the best records in the tournament – RIT and Sage – faced off. Despite a close second set (25-22), RIT continued to roll, winning again 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-17).
On Court 2, Cazenovia rebounded after the loss to RIT with a 3-1 win over Old Westbury.
In the final match of the night SUNYIT squared off against Old Westbury. After receiving a test at the hands of Sage earlier in the day, the Wildcats seemed determined to avoid drama, winning in straight sets 3-0.
"Ball control is going to win matches and that's what we had today," concluded Coach Bluhm, "hopefully we can keep that up tomorrow."
SUNYIT will face their toughest test tomorrow in a match against RIT on Court One at 11:00 am. All teams will play tomorrow at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm at the Wildcat Field House – a full schedule is available here.