POTSDAM, N.Y. – Top-seeded Cortland opened play in the NCAA tournament with a three-set victory against eighth-seeded Colby-Sawyer at Clarkson Alumni Gymnasium. The Red Dragons (34-5) won 25-19, 25-13, 25-12 and will face fourth-seeded New Paltz State in the second round Saturday.
Cortland finished with a team .378 attack percentage with 41 kills and seven errors in 90 attempts. Junior Aubrey Barrett totaled eight kills with no errors in 13 attempts for a .615 attack percentage. Senior Ashley Coyle had 10 kills and no errors in 23 attempts (.435) and junior Ava Hintz put down a team-high 13 kills with two errors in 26 attempts (.423).
Hintz also led Cortland with four aces and four blocks. Coyle had three aces and 10 digs and junior Krissy Silk led the team with 11 digs.
Senior setter Kristen Guercio finished with 32 assists and is now 24 assists away from becoming the ninth player in NCAA Division III history to reach 6,000 career assists.
Colby-Sawyer (18-14) was led by Courtney O’Hara’s seven kills and Laura Smolinski’s 24 assists and 10 digs. Emilee McBride added six kills and only one error in nine attempts for a .556 attack percentage and Stephanie Vecchio chipped in with six kills and three aces. The Chargers were making their consecutive NCAA appearance.
The first set was tied at 13 and the Chargers were still within 17-16 after a McBride kill that prompted a Cortland timeout. The Red Dragons responded with four consecutive points on kills by Barrett and Hintz, a Silk ace and a Colby-Sawyer ball handling error to take a 21-16 lead.
Cortland took an early 4-0 lead in the second set and coasted through the set. The Red Dragons retained their lead and put the Chargers away with a 25-13 set win.
Colby-Sawyer led 5-2 to start the third set before the Red Dragons rattled off six consecutive points, including all three of Coyle’s aces along with kills by Coyle, Barrett and Hintz. Colby-Sawyer tallied four consecutive points to regain the lead at 9-8, but Cortland put the set and match away with an 8-0 run sparked by Hintz’s kill and two blocks.