*For video of tonight's match, including postgame interviews with Kaitlyn Harrington and SUNYIT Head Coach Jake Bluhm, head on over to the SUNYIT Wildcat Facebook Page!
MARCY, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Women's Volleyball Team (10-1, 0-0 NEAC) won a 5-setter over the visiting Hilbert Hawks on Wednesday evening.
After dropping the first set 25-21, the Wildcats found another gear midway through the second set. After an incredible rally in the set, SUNYIT started to click. After clawing back to tie it 13-13, a Hanne Saarinen (Lempaala, Finland / Tampereen Lyseon Lukio) kill gave the Wildcats their first lead of the set. From there SUNYIT would close on a 9-3 run to take the second set, 25-17.
In the third set SUNYIT kept the momentum going. Again the Wildcats were able to pull away late in the set. Particularly crucial in the run was first-year Emma Larson (Miller Place, N.Y. / Miller Place). Larson, who finished the game with 6 service aces, held serve for a string of 5 Wildcat points en route to another 25-17 victory for SUNYIT.
SUNYIT looked like they might put it away in the fourth as they built an 18-15 lead, but the Hawks came storming back behind crucial kills by Amanda Binder. Binder led all Hawks with 16 kills on the night, and helped the visitors to a 25-22 win in the 4th set.
The Wildcats, at home for the first time all season, seemed to draw on the SUNYIT faithful in the 5th set. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Kaitlyn Harrington (Central Square, N.Y. / Paul V. Moore) on your team either. The senior captain came up big all night, and seemed to have an answer every time the Hawks tried to make a run.
"She's our spoken and unspoken leader on the court," said Head Coach Jake Bluhm of Harrington, "she does a lot of little things that really give opportunities to the rest of our team…she'll get a dig here and there, and obviously she gets some big kills when we need it."
Down 0-2 in the final set, Harrington did exactly that, ripping one over the net to start a 5-1 run by SUNYIT. Later in the set up 6-5 Harrington then came up with a great dig on a rocket-attempt by the Hawks, which led to a Saarinen kill and a 7-5 Wildcat advantage.
Finally, up 14-11, who else but Harrington registered the final point, a blistering spike to the back corner as the SUNYIT crowd rose in anticipation of the kill.
With the win the Wildcats improve to 10-1 to start the season, just one win shy of their total for all of the 2012 season. The team will look to add a couple NEAC conference wins this weekend as they host a NEAC Crossover at the Wildcat Field House. SUNYIT is scheduled to play Friday at 7:00 pm versus Lancaster Bible College, followed by a pair of matches on Saturday beginning at 10:00 am.