It was on a Sunday afternoon back in April when the men’s volleyball team won the first national title in SUNY New Paltz history. On Saturday, Sept. 10 the players that made it possible received the rings they worked to earn five months earlier.
Every member of last year’s team, with the exceptions of Andy Fishman and Joe Norman were present for the ceremony. This included co-captains Christian Smith and Kevin Nardone, as well as Christopher Husmann and Chris Lilley, who were all seniors on last year’s team.
“It’s always great seeing all the guys that graduated,” third-year middle blocker Steven Woessner said. “Most of them live on Long Island and even in my hometown of Massapequa, so I thankfully get to see them a lot.”
The ceremony began with President Donald Christian making a speech about the team and how much the title means to the school. He explained that he watched them at all of their home games, and joked that he did not see them lose very often.
The Hawks went 33-2 last season and did not lose against any Div. III opponent. Their only two losses came against the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and the University of Turabo during the team’s trip to Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico in January.
In addition to their rings, the Hawks also received an NCAA jacket, a United Volleyball Conference (UVC) jacket and a Bluetooth headset. The rings were handed out by President Christian.
“2016 was a great journey,” Hawks head coach Radu Petrus said. “It is something that no one can ever take away from us. It was a great honor to receive the ring from President Christian and be a part of this great program. I hope to leave a legacy behind for the future generation.”
Petrus plans on keeping his ring on display in his office. Woessner does not plan on sporting his ring too frequently either.
“I don’t plan on wearing the ring too much to be honest,” he said. “I also haven’t really touched the shirt or the hat that the NCAA gave us after winning. When I have free time next summer I want to make some sort of display with all of those things included.”
The 2016 New Paltz Hawks Men’s Volleyball Team
#1 Yorman Escobar #11 Christopher Husmann
#2 Anthony Bonilla #13 Nick Denoncourt
#3 Christian Smith #14 Ben Cohen
#4 Matt Goldberg #15 Mitchell Kennedy
#5 Steve Gassert #16 Ryan Cole
#6 Jake Roessler #18 C.J. Borfitz
#7 Kevin Nardone #20 Nick Smith
#9 Andy Fishman #23 Chris Lilley
#10 Steven Woessner #24 Joe Norman
Head Coach: Radu Petrus (10th year)
Assistant Coach: Tony Bonilla (5th year, 17th overall)
Captains: Kevin Nardone, Christian Smith