CORTLAND - Fredonia State was ousted from the SUNYAC championship tournament Friday with a 3-2 loss to New Paltz.
The Blue Devils (26-11), the No. 1 seed from SUNYAC's West Division, fell by set scores of 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, and 15-12.
New Paltz and nationally ranked Cortland will meet in the SUNYAC championship match at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Blue Devils and Hawks (26-10) played a see-saw match of numerous momentum swings.
The first set was tied five times early before the Blue Devils scored three straight points to take a 10-7 lead. Decisive kills by Lindsey Olson, Hannah Manning, and Jennifer Newhouse came late in the set.
The Blue Devils took the lead early in the second set and were up 15-12 before the Hawks went on an 8-0 run. It included two kills by Dana Vosilla.
The teams were tied 14 times in the third set. The Hawks appeared on the verge of winning it before a kill by Chelsea Senn began a Blue Devil comeback. It was followed by a block combination by Newhouse and Senn, a kill by New Paltz's Vosilla, and another combo block by Newhouse and Senn. Two straight New Paltz errors gave Fredonia State a 25-23 win.
A kill by Newhouse gave Fredonia State a 17-13 lead in the fourth set. New Paltz fought back with a 6-2 run, including two kills by Michelle Jacobson. With their team down 22-20, Emily Linn and Brittany Lis combined for a block, and Senn teamed with Olson to forge a 22-22 tie. The Blue Devils then made a service error, followed by an attack error. A kill by Senn cut the New Paltz lead to 24-23, before Melinda DiGiovanna ended the set with a kill.
The fifth set had six ties - every interval from 1-1 to 6-6 - before the Hawks edged ahead on a Blue Devil error and ace by Brigid Moore. The Blue Devils fell behind 12-8 before scoring three straight points - a New Paltz serving error, a combo block by Linn and Senn and a kill by Senn. The teams traded points before New Paltz's Laura Stanhewicz ended the match with a kill and a block.
Olson finished with 17 kills and 15 digs, Manning with 14 kills, Newhouse with 14 and five block assists, and Linn with 10 kills. Lis collected 58 assists and 19 digs. Sarah Zureck had 35 digs, and Jennifer Michelsen 10. Senn was credited with nine kills, four solo blocks, and seven block assists.
In the earlier semifinal Friday, Cortland ousted Oneonta, 3-0, by set scores of 25-21, 27-25, and 25-21. The Red Dragons, ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division III, improved to 38-1. They are seeking their 18th SUNYAC title.
The Blue Devils were making their third trip to the semifinal round. They won their only title in 2008, when the current senior class were freshmen.
Ernstberger, Linn, Lis, Michelsen, Newhouse, Senn, and Zureck were playing in their final collegiate volleyball match.
"Our season ended and seven seniors are graduating, so it was defintely tough," Fredonia State head coach Geoff Braun said. "We had high expectations, so we fell short of our team goal, but I'm proud of our girls. It was a well-played match by both teams. We let it all hang out."