GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo first-year outside hitter Grace Cergol totaled match-highs with 22 kills and 19 digs to lead the Knights to a 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-5) victory over St. John Fisher, Wednesday.
In the first set, Geneseo took an 18-12 lead with five consecutive points bookended by Cergol kills. The Cardinals (10-15) bounced back with five points of their own to pull back within a point, but the Knights closed the set with a 7-0 run on the serve of senior right side Emma Lannon to earn the victory.
St. John Fisher never trailed in a tight second set, but never led by more than four points. Behind, 18-14, Cergol finished a 3-0 spurt with a kill to make it a one-point deficit, but the visitors re-took a 23-20 edge en route to the three-point victory.
In the third, the Knights responded by turning a small 7-6 lead into an eight-point edge, 15-7, buoyed by a pair of kills from Cleary on their way to the 11-point win.
The Cardinals once again led wire-to-wire in the fourth, using a 9-3 run to build an 18-10 lead. Geneseo tried to mount a comeback with a 5-1 run of its own to trail, 23-18, but it wasn't enough as the teams headed to the decisive fifth set.
Geneseo took command by scoring the first five points on the serve of senior outside hitter Tricia Baxley and eventually led by an 8-1 score the proved to be insurmountable. St. John Fisher scored three of the next four points to get back within five, 9-4, but the Knights finished the match winning six of the final seven points, including three kills by Cergol, to earn the win.
The Knights return to action later this week with their three final matches in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Pool Play. On Friday, Geneseo will square off with Oneonta (5:00 PM) and Buffalo State (7:00 PM) before taking on host Cortland on Saturday (12:30 PM). A three-match sweep, or two wins with a victory over Cortland, would assure Geneseo its first SUNYAC Tournament appearance since 2011.