The Genesee Community College volleyball team opened its season at home Sept. 7 against Erie, who received votes in the latest National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Women's D-III Poll.
Although the Cougars lost the match, they were not only in every set, but held the lead at least once during their three sets of play in their first official match of the season. The ability to be that competitive against a team in the national poll should go far this weekend now that the team has finally got its season underway.
In the first set, the Cougars got off to a good start behind Grace Zandrowicz's serving that put Genesee up 4-0. The Cougars would extend their lead to as many as seven at 13-6, before the Kats found one of their nine lives and tied the set at 17. Both teams would be tied after the next two points before Erie got hot at the end and rattled off the final six to take the first set.
In the second set, Genesee fell behind by five points in the early going, 6-1, but six serves from Tommi Rutherford erased that Kats lead and put the Cougars in front 7-6. Erie responded by building a commanding 10-point lead at 20-10, but a great rally from the Cougars saw them earn 10 of the next 13 points. The last point in that run came from Nao Maeda, whose ace made it just a three-point set at 23-20. Erie got the final two to stop Genesee's valiant comeback attempt and go up 2-0.
In the third set, Erie maintained a one-point lead early with the Cougars tying the set four separate times before finally getting its first lead at 6-5. The Kats re-took the lead at 9-8 and held on most of the way. Genesee rallied to tie the set at 14 and got within four points late in the set at 21-17 before Erie got the final four.
Zandrowicz led the team in digs with eight, while Sha-Ony Obispa had a team-high seven kills for the Cougars. Rutherford led the team in aces with four.
The Cougars next head to Adirondack for POD play against host SUNY Adirondack, Hudson Valley and North Country Sept. 9.