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Paul Smith’s overwhelms NCCC

Robin Jenkins of Paul Smith’s College plays the ball during Wednesday’s match at North Country Community College. The ‘Cats swept the contest 3-0 to improve to 7-4 overall. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — The Paul Smith’s College volleyball team owns area bragging rights this fall following a 3-0 sweep over North Country Community College on Wednesday in the Saints gym.

There wasn’t much doubt that the Bobcats would claim the victory over the winless Saints, but the match between the two local college squads still turned out to be competitive. As a two-year school, North Country has the disadvantage of putting just freshmen and sophomores on the floor, while Paul Smith’s has a roster comprised of freshmen through seniors.

The Bobcats triumphed by 25-19, 25-11 and 25-17 scores.

Paul Smith’s however, was behind the eight ball in the third game trailing 17-15, but completed the sweep by going on a 10-point run to close out the contest.

“I thought the girls played well. They did what they had to do,” first-year ‘Cats head coach Ritt Roberge said. “They passed, set, put the ball down. They almost let it slip away in the third there, but they came through.”

North Country players Rebecca Delair, left, and Mandy Burnett both go for the ball during Wednesday’s home match against Paul Smith’s College in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

The teams also met on Sept. 5 at Paul Smith’s College, and in that match, the Saints won two games during a 3-2 setback. NCCC head coach Susan Waters said back then, her players had the advantage of getting in more practice sessions as the Bobcats were just beginning their season.

“The first time we played them, it was preseason, they had only been together for a couple days and they had some new players,” Waters said. “We had the benefit of 10 days of preseason.”

NCCC, which is in its fourth season of volleyball, entered Wednesday’s contest with a roster of seven including two sophomores and five freshmen. She liked how the Saints started the match.

“The first set I loved their energy. They were playing really well together and their passing was really dead on,” Waters said of her team. “That’s what it takes to win in this game. You have to have great passing and good defense. When we did get an opportunity to attack, the Bobcats just had really good defense. They were picking up everything, their libero was all over the place, so we weren’t just able to put it down. We couldn’t find the holes.”

Paul Smith’s libero, sophomore Nayleece Williams, finished with 19 digs. The Bobcats were also strong at the net, as Sarah Vivlamore and Gabriella Buehler combined for 15 kills. Paige Farrington also had a solid outing for the Bobcats, finishing with 20 assists and 14 digs.

Orisha Ranger of Paul Smith’s plays the ball during action Wednesday. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Waters said her two returning sophomores, Marli Conners and Mandy Burnett, had solid outings, as did Rebecca Delair, a freshman from Tupper Lake.

Paul Smith’s entered the match after going 2-3 over the weekend against Yankee Small College Conference opponents. The ‘Cats return to league action on Wednesday at home against the College of St. Joseph, with the match starting at 6:30 p.m.

After taking two sets from the Bobcats to start the season, North Country has won just one game while dropping to 0-12. The lone game the Saints took was by a 35-33 score on Saturday during a 3-1 loss to Tomkins-Cortland Community College.

“We’ve made huge progress in the past couple weeks,” Waters said. “We’ve been scoring more points than we have in the past. We’ve played several sets to 24-26. For the most part we’ve been getting points. We just haven’t sealed the deal yet. They have been pouring out their hearts.”

North Country will be on the road this weekend for its next two matches, which will be against Hudson Valley and Jefferson. The Saints return home to host Word of Life on Monday starting at 6 p.m.

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