Paul Smith’s volleyball team is heading to nationals
SARANAC LAKE — The Paul Smith’s College women’s volleyball team dominated the Yankee Small College Conference Final Four this past weekend and punched a ticket to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament.
The Bobcats entered the tournament as the number one seed, a position the team held all season long while racking up a 13-4 overall record.
In the semifinals, the team defeated the fourth seed, the Southern Maine Community College Seawolves 3-0 to get to the championship match against the New Hampshire Technical Institute Lynx.
Led by YSCC All-Conference Team players Alli Cherry and Jordan Louis, the Bobcats defeated SMCC by scores of 25-19, 25-17 and 27-25.
However, the Seawolves never gave up on the match — the team led the Paul Smith’s 25-24 in the third set.
On the verge of dropping the third set, the Bobcats were able to battle back and tie the match at 25. Freshman Sydney O’Melia served two straight aces to finish off the Seawolves and take the third and final set.
In the finals, the Bobcats finished where they left off. The team took the first set against NHTI by a score of 25-13. The Lynx came right back to win the second set by the same score.
Not wanting to be denied, the Paul Smith’s hitters came out firing on all cylinders in the third set. The team had 14 kills in the triumphant 25-10 win.
Sophomore Sydney Krompasky led the way with four thunderous spikes to shutdown the Lynx, while Junior Shannon McPheeters and Freshman Jordan Louis had three kills each. The Bobcats’ setting duo of Avrielle Fletcher and Sydney O’Melia distributed the ball with accuracy and precision.
In the fourth and final set, the Bobcats came out strong, taking a 6-3 lead. With the lead, Sophomore Avrielle Fletcher served seven straight points. The 13-3 lead seemed to deflate the Lynx.
NHTI attempted to come back by closing the gap to 15-19 but it would not be enough.
Every time momentum shifted towards the Lynx hitters, Paul Smith’s Cherry seemed to be there to dominate every play. The sophomore was given the nickname “Cherry Bomb” because of her play that ruined any chance of NHTI to make a comeback.
Cherry ended up with eight of her match-high 18 kills in the final set. She was named Offensive Player of the Tournament for her efforts. The Bobcat’s Louis was named Tournament MVP for her all-around game of serving, aces, passing, digs, and kills.
“Our togetherness as a team, whether it was the bench or the court players is what set us apart from other teams,” Cherry said in a statement. “We all had the same energy and the mindset that this was our championship.”
Coach Ritt Roberge was very pleased with the effort the team displayed and is confident the Bobcats will do well as they head to the USCAA National Championships in Virginia Beach next month.