While the New Paltz women’s volleyball team was eliminated in the second round of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) conference early last month, there were still some silver linings.
Fourth-year setter Maddie Zwickl was named Second Team All-SUNYAC in a season where she became the program’s all-time assist leader with 4,692. Third-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo joined Zwickl, also earning Second Team All-SUNYAC honors.
Perhaps the most impressive accolade for the Hawks, however, was fourth-year libero Veronica Matedero taking home Tri-Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-SUNYAC nod.
“This is something that I will forever pride myself in,” Matedero said. “The SUNYAC conference for women’s volleyball is definitely not an easy conference and is only going to continue getting more competitive.
“To go from being a nervous freshman that barely saw the court to finishing off my senior year receiving these awards shows how hard I have worked these last four years. I am really proud of myself that all the time I put into practicing and playing the game paid off, and accomplishing what I did was a really great way to end my college career.”
Matedero wrapped up her season second in conference with 487 digs, while averaging 4.06 digs per set. She also solidified herself in program history, finishing her career fourth all-time with 1,669 career digs.
Her presence on New Paltz’s backline all season was apparent, with the team holding opponents to a .144 hitting percentage on the year.
“It is a testament to how diligently she works at her game and how deeply she cares about being a player that we can rely on day and day out,” Hawks head coach Matt Giufre said. “She is often one of the best in the gym no matter what the level of competition is, and these awards are truly deserved.
“We will miss her on court play, her leadership, her competitiveness and her ability to get the best out of her teammates. There is no way we would have had any chance to compete this season if not for Veronica’s high level consistency and performance. She makes plays others can only hope to make, and I’m glad the SUNYAC coaches also recognized that with these honors.”
As for Zwickl, she concluded her collegiate career notching 1,101 assists on her way to shattering the program record originally set by Marissa King ‘13. Her assist total was good for second in conference. She also tied a program record, registering 60 assists in a four-set match.
With Matedero and Zwickl departing, the team will hope to see Cimillo take charge for her senior year in 2018.
Cimillo logged 355 kills which led the team, while also being good for third in conference. Additionally, she recorded a .202 hitting percentage and defended 244 digs on the campaign.
“Maddie and Taylor had strong, consistent seasons and it’s nice to see them recognized by the other SUNYAC coaches in order to earn second team all-conference,” Giufre said. “I am very happy to see them recognized in this way. Coming into the season I was made aware by our Athletic Communications staff that there was a chance for Maddie to break the career assist record. With no disrespect to Marissa King, I’m glad she did break it because it meant we scored a lot of points and had the opportunity to win a lot of matches.
“These awards are a testament to the work ethic of our student-athletes and the talents that they have. It also means we are successful enough for our players to be recognized, so while they are given to individuals, they are accepted on behalf of the efforts of all 16 student-athletes.”
Giufre concluded that he is excited to see the calendar turn to 2018, and to begin preparing for it to be a memorable year.