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SUNY Potsdam weekly sports recap

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POTSDAM - Earning a bid to the SUNYAC playoffs by the men’s soccer team highlighted last week’s efforts by the SUNY Potsdam fall sports teams.

MEN’S SOCCER

Potsdam split a pair of matches and clinched the sixth seed in the SUNYAC playoffs. The Bears will play at No. 3 seed Brockport on Saturday. Game start will be 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s soccer match that begins at 11 a.m.

Potsdam (9-8-1 overall, 3-5-1 SUNYAC) has reached the playoffs twice in the last three seasons.

On Friday, junior midfielder Conor Engle (Auburn, N.Y.) scored and senior goalkeeper Stefan Sloma (Niskayuna, N.Y.) made eight saves as Potsdam defeated SUNY Geneseo 1-0 on Friday afternoon. The victory was the Bears first over the Blue Knights since 1991 and matched the program’s single-season wins mark set in 1983 (9-6).

Geneseo came out firing in the first 20 minutes, but Sloma made several big saves to keep the Potsdam in the contest. Eventually the defense raised its game and the play evened out. The Blue Knights edged Potsdam 14-11 in shots in the first half, but the chances were nearly even. Sloma finished the half with six saves in the opening 45 minutes, while his Geneseo counterpart, Logan Calvey stopped four shots.

The Bears turned up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded. Just over eight minutes into the period, junior midfielder Alex Minsker (Brewster, N.Y.) sent a corner kick into the box and Engle headed it home for the decisive tally. The Blue Knights controlled the play the last 20 minutes, but couldn’t draw even.

On Saturday, the College at Brockport built a big first half lead en route to a 7-3 victory over Potsdam.

The first Bears’ goal came when Minsker tipped a hard pass from junior forward Eduardo Figueroa (Rochester, N.Y) past Golden Eagles goalie Casey Sullivan.

The Bears notched their second goal just over five minutes into the final period. Senior captain Alessio Vitale (Liverpool, N.Y.) scored on a pass from Minsker to make it 5-2. At 76:08, Potsdam freshman defender Chris Schrum (Roosevelt Island, N.Y.) made it 6-3 with an assist from sophomore forward Stephen Auyer (Oswego, N.Y.).

WOMEN’S SOCCER

On Friday afternoon, SUNY Geneseo scored an early goal and made it stand up as the Blue Knights topped Potsdam 1-0 at Maxcy Turf Field. The loss eliminated the Bears from playoff contention.

Geneseo controlled the play in the first half, but were only able to get one goal on the board. At the 18:44 mark, freshman forward Erin O’Connor (Remsen, N.Y.) snuck a shot past Potsdam freshman goalkeeper Michaela Cole (Parishville, N.Y.) with a helper from senior midfielder Alexa Vojvodic (Mineola, N.Y.). Cole finished with five saves in the first 45 minutes and the Bears defense quickly defused Geneseo’s other chances.

On Saturday, The College at Brockport defeated Potsdam 3-0 on a windy, cold day at Maxcy Turf Field. Prior to the game, the Bears celebrated captain Kate Clauss’ (Bloomfield, N.Y.) career on Senior Day.

In the first half, the Golden Eagles controlled the play territorially, but had a difficult time cracking Potsdam’s defense. Brockport finally got a shot on goal in the 34th minute as senior midfielder Annie Terilli (Brockport, N.Y.) lofted a high shot over Potsdam senior goalie Lisa Bates (Galway, N.Y.) for a 1-0 lead. Sophomore midfielder Courtney Szczesniak (Liverpool, N.Y) assisted on the marker. Potsdam evened out the play after the goal with several shots of its own, but the score remained the same at the break.

The Bears (5-11-1 overall, 2-7 SUNYAC) wrapped up the season with their most wins ever under third-year head coach Mark Misiak and with their most conference victories since 2007.

VOLLEYBALL

Potsdam went 1-2 on the weekend, but managed to still clinch a playoff spot for the SUNYAC tournament.

The Bears (13-14 overall, 5-4 SUNYAC) locked up the fifth seed and will play Plattsburgh at top-seeded SUNY New Paltz on Friday, November 8, at 6 p.m.

Seeking to gain ground in the SUNYAC standings, the Potsdam volleyball team was turned back at Buffalo State in straight sets 25-13, 25-18, 25-12 on Friday night.

The Bengals (19-8 overall, 6-1 SUNYAC) started quickly and never looked back. It got big performances from Samantha Parente (10 kills), Sarah Horvath (11 digs, nine kills) and Kelsey Bashore (30 assists, seven digs).

Senior setter Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) led the Bears with the 10 digs, nine assists and five kills. Lauren Manzo (Clovis, Calif.) had eight assists and eight digs.

Senior middle hitter Sara Anderson (Lake George, N.Y.) and senior outside hitter Dakota Pruiss (Wallkill, N.Y.) each totaled four kills.

On Saturday, Potsdam lost to a streaking New Paltz team in four sets (25-15, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20). The Hawks (27-5 overall, 9-0 SUNYAC) have been red hot, extending its winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. In the process, it also clinched the top seed and home court advantage for the SUNYAC Tournament.

The Bears fought valiantly, however, by taking the third set in a squeaker.

Blujus led with 24 digs, 12 kills, five assists and two blocks. Junior outside hitter Liza Fields (Duanesburg, N.Y. / Duanesburg) had 13 digs, 11 kills and three blocks. Pruiss tallied 19 digs and eight kills.

In the later match, Potsdam got back on the winning side by knocking off Brockport 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14.

Anderson was extremely efficient by racking up 13 kills against no errors on 19 total attacks for a staggering .684 hitting percentage.

Pruiss chalked up another productive match by picking up 14 digs, 11 kills, three aces and three blocks. Manzo equaled her largest output for assists in a match with 33 and also added 14 digs. Blujus had 19 digs, nine kills and three blocks. Fields chipped in with eight kills and eight digs.

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Junior midfielder/forward Alex Minsker (Brewster, N.Y.) tallied four points in two matches for the Potsdam men’s soccer team this past week.

Alex had the game-winning assist to Conor Engle in the Bears’ 1-0 win at SUNY Geneseo on Friday and then followed it up with a goal and an assist in the match at Brockport on Saturday.

Senior outside hitter/right side Dakota Pruiss (Wallkill, N.Y.) collected 33 digs, 23 kills, 11 assists, five aces and five blocks in three matches for the Potsdam volleyball team this past week.

Dakota set single-game season-highs in digs with 19 against New Paltz, in assists with eight against Brockport and tied a season-high in blocks with three versus Brockport.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

The men’s soccer team will play at Brockport on Saturday at approximately 1:15 p.m. in the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament.

The volleyball team will continue its regular season non-conference schedule with a match at St. Lawrence on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, it will be in Rochester, N.Y. for a tri-match with St. John Fisher College at 10 a.m. and Alfred University at noon.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams will take part in the SUNYAC championships on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. in Oneonta.

The men’s hockey team will play both its regular season opener at Plattsburgh on Friday at 7 p.m. and then will hold its’ home opener against New England at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Maxcy Ice Arena.

The women’s hockey team will hold its season opener on Saturday against Saint Michael’s at 2:30 p.m.

The swimming and diving team will also open its season at Skidmore in Saratoga Springs on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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