relentless (adj).re·lent·less \ -ləs \
showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace; unrelenting
Relentless. Supportive. Challenging. Competitive. Record-breaking. Grit. Family.
While the 2017-2018 season may not have ended in the way that we’d hoped, reflecting on the last three months left us with these inspiring feelings of achievement, of success, of a sense of belonging, and of a hunger for more.
Our season began with an opening weekend out in Ohio where we stood in the gym at Mount Union with a (mostly) brand new coaching staff, 8 returning players, and 8 brand new faces to complete our team. We knew it was going to be a wild ride and it was nothing short of a crazy one.
And record-breaking it certainly was. Sophomore OH #14 Grace Cergol was named SUNYAC Athlete of the Week four times out of nine this season (a conference high). She was also named Geneseo’s Athlete of the Week along with her teammates, sophomore OPP #11 Abby May & sophomore Libero #13 Sam Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn led the SUNYAC in digs & digs/set right from the start after our very first outing at Mount Union, a standing that she maintained all throughout the season and finished at the top of the conference. Cergol maintained the same trajectory over the course of the season, leading the conference in kills & kills/set. Cergol finished out the season ranking #1 in the SUNYAC with attacks/set, kills/set, points/set, total attacks, and total kills (486– 3rd highest in program history). She also ranked #10 in the conference in digs/set, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in both kills/set & digs/set. Junior Setter #9 Emily Ast led the conference in assists/set, outranking all other setters in the conference until the final week of the season when she fell to second just below Fredonia’s Hallie Christopher. Ast also reached 2nd place in the Geneseo Volleyball record books with 2,575 career assists and completed 1,000 assists in one season during our final regular-season tournament weekend.
Cergol & Ast also made their marks in the national realm of DIII volleyball this season. Cergol started out the season ranked #2 in the nation in total kills with 147 after just two weeks of competition. She stayed within the top 20 in the nation all season long, finishing at #12 in the nation in total kills, #7 in attacks/set, and #9 in kills/set. Ast began the season ranked #22 in the nation for total assists and #56 in assists/set and rounded out her junior season at #36 in assists/set and #21 in total assists in all of DIII volleyball.
Many other members of the GSUVB squad had career-high matches that propelled the team through the season. #11 OPP Abby May reached her career-high kills with 18 in SUNYAC match against Plattsburgh this season as well as a stellar hitting percentage of %.500 against Pitt-Bradford. FY MB #2 Kiersten Colvin, who was named to Mount Union’s Opening Weekend All Tournament Team in her very first collegiate weekend, reached a career-high 10 kills against Allegheny that weekend. #13 L Mendelsohn reached a career-high 30 digs in SUNYAC match against Cortland, maintaining her defensive lead of the team and the conference.
As a whole, Geneseo Volleyball broke streaks and records all over the map. In our first SUNYAC Pool Play weekend alone, GSUVB took down New Paltz in a 3-2 win for the first time since beating them in the 2006 SUNYAC semi-finals. The team also took their first 3-0 sweep of a pool play weekend for the first time since the pool play structure began in 2010. After a few well-fought battles against regionally-ranked teams at MIT and Mount Union, Geneseo Volleyball completed the longest winning streak in 19 years with 10-straight wins from Pitt-Bradford on 9/13 to Nazareth on 9/29. Last but certainly not least, the team secured the 3rd place seed in the SUNYAC Tournament, improving upon last season’s 5th place seed and their first tournament appearance in five seasons and hosting its first playoff match since 1996.
After a sweep of Cortland in SUNYAC Quarterfinals came a tough 0-3 loss to No.2 Fredonia in SUNYAC Semis, the accolades and successes of this team kept pouring in. We ended with a 23-11 overall record, the highest win total since 2004. Ast, May, Mendelsohn, and Cergol were all named to SUNYAC All-Conference Teams (3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st respectively). #13 Mendelsohn was honored as the SUNYAC’s Tri-Defensive Player of the Year; #14 Cergol was named SUNYAC Player of the Year. As the cherry on top, Cergol was named to the AVCA’s First Team All-Northeast Region, making her only the fifth player in program history to receive this honor, the second to receive a First-Team nod, and is currently in the running to becoming the second All-American in program history.
So yes– we were relentless this season. We were competitive. We played with grit. We were record-breaking.
But most of all, we were all of those other words mentioned above– we were supportive, we challenged each other, we played as one. Best of all, we were a family. A family that won together, lost together, struggled together, overcame adversity together, and created the memory of a historic season for this program together. Here at Geneseo Volleyball, that’s what we’re all about. Being respectful, supportive, well-rounded, good people who just happen to love playing relentless, competitive, tough, gritty volleyball every day. We can’t ask for anything more than that.
But we’re hungry for more. We’re hungry to better ourselves, individually and as a team, so that we can hit the ground running in August 2018. It’s too far away for our liking right now, but it’ll come faster than we think– and when it does, we’ll be ready.
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our parents, friends, families, department staff, administrators, fans, and alumni for all of their support this season– without you, this ride wouldn’t be half as meaningful or successful. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your endless love and support– you’re a wonderful addition to our Geneseo Volleyball family!
Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!