Nov. 12, 2010

* Courtesy of SUNY-Cortland Athletics

FROSTBURG, MD. - Junior outside hitter Ashley Coyle (Mt. Hope/Minisink Valley) recorded a career-best 27 kills and sophomore setter Kristen Guercio (Smithtown/Smithtown East) dished out a career-best 68 assists as Cortland outlasted Case Western Reserve University, 3-2, in the opening round of the NCAA Div. III tournament.

Cortland won the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-18, but the Spartans came back to win the next two sets, 25-23 and 25-17. The Red Dragons scored the final four points of the fifth set to win 15-11.

The Red Dragons (34-7), seeded third in the eight-team regional hosted by Frostburg State, will face either the host Bobcats or the University of Pitt-Bradford in the second round Saturday at 6 p.m. Case Western, seeded sixth, finishes its season with a 24-11 record.

Guercio has established a school single-season record with 1,595 assists. She also had nine digs and four kills. Coyle tallied 16 digs along with her 27 kills. She has 592 kills this season, seven shy of tying the school single-season record of 599 kills set by Michelle Gaufman in 2008.

Junior middle hitter Sheena Asibey (Brentwood) added 15 kills and a game-high five blocks for the Red Dragons. Junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Cooper (Webster/Webster Schroeder) had 13 kills and two blocks and freshman outside hitter Aubrey Barrett (Liverpool) chipped in with a career-best nine kills. Sophomores Katie Wick (Cortland/Homer) and Erin Carrino (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) registered 14 and 13 digs, respectively.

Rachael Suchy and Tricia McCutchan led Case Western with 19 kills each. Allie Palmer finished with 12 kills and Breana Freeman totaled 52 assists. Rachel Gulasey led the Spartans with 25 digs and McCutchan served four aces.

Cortland trailed the entire first half of the opening set. Down 15-12, the Red Dragons went on a 7-0 run, led by three Asibey kills, to take a 19-15 lead. Case came back to tie the match at 19-19, but a Coyle kill and Asibey block put Cortland up 21-19. Case again tied the match with two straight points, and the teams then alternated the next six points to stay tied at 24-24. A Coyle kill and a Case attack error gave the Red Dragons the win.

With the teams tied 17-17 in the second, Cortland scored three consecutive points on kills by Guercio, Coyle and Barrett. The Spartans got one point back, but the Red Dragons tallied the final five points - two coming on a Cooper kill and block and the final point on a Wick ace.

The third set was tied 15 times, the last at 23-23 after a Case kill by Suchy. Palmer scored the Spartans' final two points on a block and a kill to end the set. Case used a 5-1 run in the fourth set to turn an 11-10 lead into a 16-11 advantage. The lead was at least four the rest of the set.

In the fifth set, Cortland trailed 3-1 early, but scored the next three points. The teams were tied at every interval from 4-4 to 9-9 before a Coyle kill and a block by Jenna Davies (Brewerton/Paul V. Moore) and Cooper gave the Red Dragons an 11-9 lead. Case scored two straight to tie the set at 11. From that point, Coyle's kill put Cortland up 12-11 and Asibey's solo block extended the lead to 13-11. Cortland also scored on a bad set by the Spartans, and Davies put down a solo block to end the match.