Women’s Volleyball Grabs Thrilling 3-1 Home Win Over Cobleskill

vianey hernandez attacks the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Despite losing the first set and then being down multiple times through the next three frames, the Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team pulled out a 3-1 non-conference victory over SUNY Cobleskill Thursday night at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

The Fighting Tigers took the lead in the match by winning the opening game by a 25-20 margin. SVC then came from behind to take the second at 25-15 before carrying its momentum on to snag a 25-8 victory in the third.

Cobleskill fought to extend the match and nearly forced the decisive fifth, but the Mountaineers came back from being down six late in the fourth and eventually won it 27-25 to remain undefeated on the young season.

Southern Vermont (4-0) is back in action on Saturday with a tri-match at Green Mountain College; the Mountaineers will take on the hosting Eagles at 12 p.m. before playing Northern Vermont University-Johnson for the second time this year at 2 p.m. The Fighting Tigers (1-4) are off until Wednesday when they host Keuka College for a 7 p.m. North Eastern Athletic Conference showdown.

Mountaineer senior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) led all players with a season-high 19 kills while adding nine digs and a pair of block assists to her line. Freshman Vianey Hernandez (Jewett, Texas) tied the match-best of 22 digs in addition to landing five kills, and junior Sarah Baty (Portola, Calif.) assisted on 20 of the 35 SVC kills while registering 11 digs and seven aces. Southern Vermont was strong at the net defensively as the Mountaineers combined for 12 block assists—junior Meg Maddalena (Portola, Calif.) having four on her own.

Cobleskill was paced in the attack by sophomore Karyn Knaul (Central Square, N.Y.) who had eight kills. Junior libero Mikayla Catherman (Marcellus, N.Y.) tied Hernandez's 22 digs while senior Mackenzie Holbert (Sauquoit, N.Y.) chipped in with 20 assists, 12 digs, four kills, and three service aces.

The only time SVC led in the first set, the score was 2-1. The Mountaineers remained close until a 12-2 run put the Fighting Tigers in front comfortably. Not to go quietly, Southern Vermont made a small surge to get within a handful, but the comeback fell short as Cobleskill finished off the frame.

Down three in the front end of the second, Southern Vermont rattled off six straight to pull ahead. The Mountaineers never relinquished the advantage as points went back-and-forth before SVC notched four straight to tie the match.

SVC kept rolling into the third and stormed to a 15-3 run for a sizable upper hand. The Mountaineers cruised to a 2-1 edge in the contest, but the Fighting Tigers would challenge them in closing it out.

Southern Vermont led 7-5 early in the fourth before a 7-1 Cobleskill run put the visitors in front by four. SVC tied it up—only to see the Fighting Tigers take to another 7-1 run to go ahead 20-14. The Mountaineers battled back and got within one, but Cobleskill answered and pushed it to set-point at 24-21. Southern Vermont would win the next two and force a Fighting Tiger timeout, and a service ace then tied it at 24-24.

SVC found its back against the wall after an ensuing service error made it set-point once again. The seasoned Mountaineers remained focused, however, and connected to win the next three points and celebrate the triumphant victory. Sowles landed two kills in that stretch, including the match winner, while junior Abby Landon (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) tallied one when she went up on a Cobleskill pass near the net and knocked it back to make it match-point.