Five Consecutive 3-0 Wins Propel Men’s Volleyball Forward

Third-year setter Matthew Grace currently leads the Hawks in kills with 669. (Photo courtesy of Robin Weinstein/Office of Communications and Marketing)

Before beating the Sage Colleges 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-17) Wednesday night, the men’s volleyball team earned their fourth 3-0 win in a row Thursday, Feb. 28 against Baruch College. The 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-20) victory and sweep of Sage moves the Hawks to 13-4 on the season, remaining undefeated in United Volleyball Conference (UVC) play at 5-0. 

“It wasn’t our best performance ever but every match is a good win,” said New Paltz fourth-year outside hitter Bradley Schneider. “We’re the only undefeated team in the UVC and we’re just trying to keep it that way.”

Falling early 4-3 in the first set against the Bearcats last Thursday, the Hawks took their first jab in the match with a 6-1 run to go up 9-5. New Paltz’s offense stayed consistent, pushing the pace and extending their lead against Baruch. Gaining their largest lead at 21-13 off a Schneider kill, a kill by fourth-year outside hitter Nick Smith and two attack errors handed the Hawks the set 25-15 and the lead in the match.

New Paltz jumped out to an early lead in the second set at 11-6, but the Bearcats answered back with a 5-1 run to come within one at 12-11. Their momentum was quickly subdued after a service error, allowing a kill and a service ace by Schneider and Smith, respectively, to put the Hawks up by a more comfortable margin at 15-11. 

Trying to take full momentum in the set, a kill by third-year outside hitter Aaron Carrk at 18-14 started a 5-1 run in New Paltz’s favor, extending their lead to seven at 22-15. A 4-1 run to go behind 23-19 was not enough for the Bearcats, as the Hawks took the set 25-19 and went up 2-0 in the match. 

Hungry for a fast start again in the third set, New Paltz’s offense jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead. Just like the second set, however, Baruch came back with five unanswered points to take the lead for the first time at 8-7.

 After two kills by Schneider and Smith gave the Hawks the lead back at 10-9, the Bearcats stayed within two points of New Paltz for most of the set but could never take the lead back. Two more kills by Schneider and Smith and an attack error to go up 18-15 was the dagger the Hawks needed, forcing a Baruch timeout. 

New Paltz’s offense finished off the match strong, scoring in flurries to reach set point. A kill by Schneider off an assist by third-year setter Matthew Grace gave the Hawks the 25-20 set victory, and their fourth consecutive 3-0 sweep.

“They were hanging on there in the third set,” Schneider said. “We kind of let them back in but that’s a learning experience for us, we got to  know when to put them away and just twist the knife.”

Schneider led the Hawks with 13 kills and 11 digs, while Grace racked up 39 assists. 

New Paltz returns to action Friday March 8 on the road against Elms College. 

“People are going to sleep on us because we lost a few games, but we’re going to surprise some people,” said second-year outside hitter Connor MacPhail. “Getting these wins has been big, and really boosted our confidence.”