Volleyball earns another sweep


Buffalo State Sports Information

Jessica Crooks led the Bengals with 24 kills over the weekend.

Ryan Esguerra, Reporter

The weeks leading up to important matches are the most important weeks for any successful team. Staying focused on the task at hand and getting the job done is just what the Buffalo State women’s volleyball team did this past weekend at the Houghton Invitational.

The Bengals defeated three opponents this weekend and head into SUNYAC play with victories in nine out of the last 10 matches they have participated in.

“Great weekend for the girls, they beat their toughest competition of the weekend in four,” head coach Maria DePeters said. “That is a huge confidence boast for us heading into SUNYACs.”

Buffalo State (22-10) started the tournament out strong by dismantling Alfred University (5-24) in three sets. The Bengals cruised to a set one victory, 25-7. However, Alfred came back and put up a fight with the Bengals barely edging them out, 25-23. The third, match-clinching set saw the Bengals take a 25-13 victory.

Seniors Sam Parente and Jessica Crooks paced the offensive attack for the Bengals, posting seven and six kills, respectively. Jennifer Cecchettini led the Bengals in assists, edging out fellow teammate Britt Hallet-Jonathon 14 to 10.

Saturday, the Bengals dropped their only set of the tournament against the best the tournament had to offer, Houghton College (15-12). After capturing two straight sets to open the match, 25-21 and 25-16, the Bengals dropped the third set, 23-25, before finishing off Houghton in the fourth set, 25-19. Capping off the day was a three-set sweep of Utica (9-24).

Parente and Crooks dominated the front court for the Bengals all day as Parente posted 18 kills and four blocks on the day with Crooks chipping in 18 kills and a team-leading 10 block. Hannah Renaldo had a double-double for the Bengals against Utica registering 10 kills and 11 digs.

“I think we played very well all weekend. Houghton was going to be tough for us but we got the job done,” said Parente. “We had a flow to our game and it makes me so excited for the playoffs to come.”

The season hasn’t gone as planned for the Bengals, who have been plagued by inconsistency.  After squeezing in to the final playoff spot, however, Crooks believes that her team has what it takes to go the distance and repeat last year’s success.

“There was a lot of pressure on us coming back as defending SUNYAC champions, so I think when things stopped going our way midseason, that hit the girls hard,” Crooks said. “I think that our talent is much better than our seeding and even though I am nervous, I think we have what it takes to win.”

Taking their momentum to the road, the sixth seed Bengals travel to New Paltz this weekend to take on the No. 3 seed Cortland Red Dragons in the first round of the single elimination SUNYAC tournament. Cortland dealt the Bengals their only loss in the last 10 matches they have played.

“Cortland played a good game against us last time, they had good hitters and played scrappy defensively and we weren’t ready for that,” DePeters said. “The girls now buy into the system that we have implemented and with a good week of practice, I am confident in their ability to perform when it counts the most.”