The Genesee Community College volleyball team split it last two sets at the National Junior College Athletic Association Region-III Championships held at Niagara County Community College Oct. 27.
The sixth-seeded Cougars ended the day against seventh-seed Erie with each team taking a 25-15 win in the split, after the Kats won the first set 23-25 to take the match 2-1.
Prior to that, Genesee had its hands full in a pair of opponents who received votes in the NJCAA D-III Volleyball National Polls and who were also the highest seeds in the pool the Cougars played in.
Genesee did better against second-seeded Broome than third-seed Jefferson on the day. Although Genesee lost 3-0, they lost two of the sets to the Hornets by just three points. The set scores were 22-25, 15-25 and 22-25.
The Cougars began the day against Jefferson with Genesee coming the closest to beating the Cannoneers in the 21-25 opening set. After that, Jefferson went on to win the match 3-0 after 25-15 and 25-12 second- and third-set wins.
Ana Carolina Cerezer Pinto led the team in two categories and co-led the Cougars in one other. Over the three matches, the freshman had a team-high 56 digs and half-dozen aces, and along with Sha-Ony Obispa combined for 30 kills with each getting 15. Pinto was the lone Cougar placed on the 2018 Division-III All-Region Team with a first-team selection.
Defensively, two-time NJCAA D-III Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week Lyndsey Rowland recorded 15 blocks on the day with a dozen of those being solo stops.
Genesee's 15-8 regular season and Western New York Athletic Conference Tournament participation was at a 65 percent winning percentage, which was a tremendous improvement over last season's 39 percent winning percentage during the same regular season and WNYAC tournament play.
With the Cougars' return to the region championships, they ended the 2018 season at 15-11.