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Cardinals open season with four-set win over Panthers

Cardinals open season with four-set win over Panthers

CLARION, Penn. – The Saginaw Valley State University volleyball team opened the 2021 season against Adelphi University on day one of the Tony Banner Memorial Tournament hosted by Clarion University Thursday in Clarion, Penn.

SVSU dominated the match at the net, finishing with 14 total blocks as a team in a four-set win to open the season 1-0.

The Cardinals and Panthers split the first two sets and went back and forth in the third before SVSU took control with six of the final seven points of the frame. The Cardinals pushed in front early and cruised to an eight-point win in the fourth to close out the season-opening win.

"A win like this will be helpful for our confidence as we look to accomplish some of the goals we have set for this season," SVSU Head Coach Will Stanton said. "It was great to see the team get out there and be able to compete." 

The set scores were 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-17.

Senior Maria Vukaj continued where she left off in the spring, leading the SVSU offense with 19 kills. Rylee Zimmer finished with a double-double including 10 kills and 12 digs, adding four total blocks.

After switching roles in the spring to the setter position, Peyton Gerstacker got off to a strong start with a match-high 46 assists, adding 13 digs.

Caitlinn Pistro led the Cardinal in the back row with a team-high 20 digs, setting a new career-high.

"This was the first time for Caitlinn in the Libero role and they tested her," Stannton said. "I feel like her movement was good and she stood up to the challenge well."

Olivia Waszak was strong at the net with a team-high 4.5 total blocks, while Haley Clum added 3.5 total blocks.

The Cardinals return to the court for day two of the event against Ursuline College at 4 pm Friday in Clarion, Penn.