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Red Dragons slip past Herons in five-set thriller

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

The William Smith College volleyball team fell 3-2 in a five-set thriller to nonconference foe, SUNY Cortland to open the 2023 Heron Invitational in Bristol Gymnasium this evening. The Herons fall to 6-4 on the season, while the Red Dragons move to 8-2.

Leading the way for William Smith was sophomore Malya Sayre with 21 kills on 48 swings, hitting an impressive .271 on the night. Sayre chipped in 10 digs and four service aces in her first double-double of the season. This is the fourth time this season she has recorded at least 20 kills in a match.


  • The Herons and Red Dragons both came out strong in set one, with both teams recording 12 kills each. Despite being outhit by Cortland, William Smith came out on top 25-21 in set one. Sophomore Marin Montagne led the way with five kills, hitting .222 in the set.
  • The offensive fire power continued in set two as the Herons hit .296 as a team compared to the Red Dragons’ .269. Sayre recorded six kills on seven swings, hitting .857 as the set would ultimately end in a 25-20 win for Cortland.
  • William Smith grabbed the momentum back in set three as the Red Dragons compiled nine errors as a team. Sayre recorded four of the Herons’ six kills in the set as William Smith regained the lead after winning set three, 25-20.
  • Cortland responded again in set four, going on a 6-1 run to open the set. The Red Dragons hit .462 as a team, with 14 kills to force a fifth set. First-year Lindsay Umlauf showed strong at the net, recording three blocks against the impressive Cortland offense.
  • The two sides would trade small runs to open the decisive set, with the Red Dragons reaching the eight-point mark first, up by three. Despite both teams recording only five kills each in the set, Cortland capitalized on its opportunities and allowed less errors to lift the Red Dragons to a 15-9 win in set five to clinch the match.


  • Sayre led the Herons with 21 kills (.271), followed by sophomores Jaylynn McCarthy (.148) and Montagne (.024) with eight each.
  • Junior setter Elaina Wamhoff recorded 39 assists, six digs, three kills (.154), two blocks and one service ace in the five-set match.
  • First-year Maysie Malinaric led the Herons with 18 digs, while Montagne and Sayre chipped in 10 each.
  • Umlauf recorded a career-high six blocks, while Montagne and Wamhoff added two each.
  • The Herons continued to serve strong, recording 10 service aces on the night. Sayre produced a team-leading four aces while McCarthy added two. Four different Herons chipped in one service ace.


William Smith will be back in action tomorrow when it hosts day two of the Heron Invitational. The Herons will take on the Ducks of Stevens Institute at 1:30 p.m., followed by a matchup with the Cardinals of St. John Fisher at 6:30 p.m.