Volleyball rebounds after slow start

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Buffalo State Sports Information

Jessica Crooks was named to the All-Tournament team at the Nazareth Golden Flyer Invite.

Tony Callens, Reporter

The Buffalo State women’s volleyball team looked to improve upon its 2-2 start to the season as they traveled to the Nazareth Golden Flyer Invitational Tournament this past weekend in Rochester.

“Coming in, we definitely wanted to get better and play better than we played last weekend, we wanted to go 4-0,” head coach Marie DePeters said.

On Friday, the Bengals started off slow with a four-set defeat at the hands of the tournament hosts, as the two teams traded wins in the first two sets, 25-23, to the Golden Flyers and 25-11 to the Bengals respectively. Nazareth would take the last two sets, 25-20, and 25-19.

“We had a team meeting after the [Nazareth] game and we all knew we were better than that,” senior outside hitter Sam Parente said.

The team showed its character and moxie by rebounding with a win in the evening against Hartwick, sweeping the Hawks in three-straight sets, 25-23, 25-11, and 25-20. Junior outside hitter Hannah Renaldo led the team in digs, recording 13.

“Losing is unacceptable and we wanted to prove we were a better team [than the first game showed],” Renaldo said.

The Bengals are a team that doesn’t accept anything but their best effort and is focused on results. They have experience on their side returning seven starters from a season ago.

“Overall, the team’s performance could have been better during the Nazareth game,” DePeters said, “However, it’s better to have this as a learning experience early in the season rather than later on.”

The Bengals put an exclamation point on the weekend by finishing strong with two decisive victories against Lycoming and Hilbert. The Bengals won by scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-7 against the Warriors and 25-20, 25-15 and 25-18 against Hilbert, who, like Hartwick, are also the Hawks.

Senior middle hitter Jessica Cooks and Parente were named to the all-tournament team.

“We try to stay focused and just stay mentally there,” Parente said.

Going 3-1 in the tournament will be a confidence builder for a team with aspirations of a berth in the NCAA Tournament by seasons’ end and build upon their historic 2013 campaign.

With five wins in the infant season, DePeters is just six wins away from becoming the winningest coach in the history of the program.

“It’s totally exciting to think about, but it’s not my goal for this team.” DePeters said. “My goal is to have this team go out and play the best volleyball that we can, but yes, it is very exciting.”

With the season just coming into full swing, the team will undoubtedly improve upon this past weekend.

The Bengals will host their home opener this Tuesday against Medaille.

Tony Callens can be reached by email at [email protected]