The women’s volleyball team has won seven of their last eight matches and 11 of their past 12 regular season conference matchups dating back to last season after sweeping conference rivals this past weekend.
After a tough start to the season, Hawks head coach Matt Giufre says the team has demonstrated consistent play with a sense of “calm confidence” over the past few games.
“I thought we played with a lot of confidence,” he said. “A lot of self-confidence and team-confidence and that really helped us play well. A lot of energy, enthusiasm and a relaxed core presence allowed everyone to play at their best ability. This was the first weekend that we played with a calm confidence.”
New Paltz won three of four nonconference matches during the Roadrunner Invitational, including wins against Mount Saint Mary College, Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, and Hunter College from Sept. 16 to 17.
In the process, Hawks fourth-year outside hitter Morgan Roessler recorded her 1,000th career kill on the final day of the Roadrunner Invitational as New Paltz defeated Hunter 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-23) and got swept by host Ramapo 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-23).
With her 1,000th career kill, Roessler became the ninth student-athlete in program history to reach the impressive career milestone.
Other noteable performances came from Hawks third-year setter Maddie Zwickl who compiled 128 assists and 37 digs throughout the tournament and third-year libero Veronica Matedero, who had 43 digs total in the four matches.
“After the Ramapo Tournament, we had some conversations and the team was fed up with not performing well and letting frustrations get to them,” Giufre said after being swept by the Roadrunners. “We just decided to embrace the fact that we’re going to make mistakes sometimes and we can make less of them if we understand that they’re gonna happen and just play the game just to play.”
After a commanding 8-1 record in conference play last season, the Hawks continued their winning ways against State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) foes.
New Paltz kicked off SUNYAC Pool Play this past weekend with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-19) win against a SUNY Potsdam team that was 9-1 entering the matchup. Roessler led the way with 12 kills and Zwickl dished out a game-high 43 assists, finishing with three blocks and two aces of her own.
The following day, New Paltz went up against SUNY Oswego and SUNY Fredonia. The Hawks lost their only set of the weekend in their 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21) win against Oswego and swept Fredonia 3-0 (25-6, 25-14, 25-21).
After leading the team to a 3-0 weekend with 40 kills, 13 digs, eight aces and eight blocks, Roessler was named SUNYAC Volleyball Player of the Week for the second time this month. She previously took home the title on Sept. 6.
“There’s that cliche in sports that if someone makes a mistake, somebody has to pick them up,” Giufre said. “However, in reality, it’s not the other person’s problem. The other person’s just gotta do their job the next time and we just have to play the next point to the best of our ability and I think that mentality put us in a better place.”
The Hawks shutout nonconference Western Connecticut State University 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
New Paltz (10-7 overall, 3-0 SUNYAC) will finish their nine-match road trip against Williams College on Tuesday, Oct. 4 before coming home for SUNYAC Pool Play on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 against SUNY Geneseo, The College at Brockport and SUNY Plattsburgh.
“This past weekend of conference play is a new foundation we’re going to build off of,” Giufre said. “I think we’re definitely good enough to make a big run and make the national tournament. It’s not going to be easy but if we can learn to repeat what we just did, I like our chances.”