With two simultaneous games of volleyball, the cheering never stops. Eight teams competed in the Clark Gym and the Student Life Center during the 25th annual RIT Invitational on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14. RIT Women's Volleyball completed the tournament winning three out of four matches with a set score of 7-5. The Tigers took down Brockport in three sets, Keuka in five, Potsdam in four, but lost in four sets to Medaille College. RIT first year Biomedical Sciences major Sarah Szybist was named tournament MVP.
RIT vs. Keuka
Both teams wanted the first set badly. The tigers scored first, but the Keuka College Storm quickly tied the set 3-3. RIT began to pull ahead, helped by some calls that Keuka fans disagreed with, until the score leapt up to 14-8. The set was soon a close contest again after a string of serves by Keuka player and fourth year Occupational Therapy major Taylor Smith, who pushed the score to 15-13. The pace of the final leg of the set was interrupted by four time outs. The game became even more riveting as the score reached 22-22, but the Storm never scored again; RIT won the set 25-22.
RIT seemed frustrated at the start of the second set as Keuka racked up the points and calls early. Keuka kept the pace of the set in their favor, outscoring RIT two-to-one. It looked like the Tigers were getting a handle on things when they scored three consecutive points to come within three points of Keuka, but with help from short serves and close line judgments, RIT let the score get away from them again. After a lengthy final volley, RIT lost the second set 14-25.
The third set was much the same story as the first: the Storm scored early and often, finishing the set at 19-25. After two hard losses, RIT needed to win the next two sets to take the match—so they did, 25-19 and 15-12. Tigers Head Coach Jim Lodes expressed pride in his team for their resilience, recognizing how challenging it was to come back against a high-energy team like Keuka.
RIT vs. SUNY Potsdam
During RIT's third match in the Invitational, the lady tigers played against SUNY Potsdam in four sets before taking the overall win. During the first set RIT came out strong and held a lead of a few points throughout the entire set before winning with a score of 25-13. After switching courts, SUNY Potsdam came back much more aggressively. During the set, Potsdam tied the score up and took the lead for a short time before RIT made a comeback and won with a score of 25-21.
During the third set SUNY Potsdam became much more focused while RIT seemed tired and frustrated. Potsdam took a quick lead and maintained their energy and score throughout the set. The tension in the gym was thick, and there were more than a few disagreements about calls made by the referees. With the score tied at 24 points, both teams became heated in a battle about a play that may have been out of bounds or not. The referee ultimately decided in favor of RIT, giving them the point. Although upset, this didn't matter for SUNY Potsdam for too long before they won the set with a score of 25-27.
At the start of the fourth set, the RIT Tigers looked tired but intense. After scoring the first three points the girls maintained a lead. The feeling was electric and the excitement from the team was undeniable. Although the score was relatively close for most of the fourth set, RIT stayed on top and eventually pulled ahead with a 25-16 point win, taking the overall win for the match.
Coach Lodes explained after the game that he was overall content with the win, but was disappointed with the few lapses the team experienced in the second and third set. One thing he hoped that the team would bring into the match against Medaille later that day was competitiveness with every play.
"Whether it's the first point or the last point, we have to play hard," Lodes said. "We have to keep consistent with that."
For the rest of the season Lodes hopes to build up the team and grow the many freshman and first year starters that they have.