Since losing to Div. III nationally-ranked No. 6 Springfield College by a score of 2-3 (25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 8-15) on Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Men’s Volleyball team has played five matches and won all of them.
The Hawks competed in the Cairn Tri-Match on Saturday, Feb. 28 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and won both of their matches that afternoon.
First, the Hawks defeated host Cairn University 3-1 (20-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22).
Hawks third-year co-Captain Christian Smith and second-year middle blocker Steven Woessner led the team with 10.5 points each. Smith also led the team with nine kills and posted a .462 hitting percentage. Woessner hit for .667 and led the team with two aces. Hawks fourth-year setter John Lutjen also contributed by leading the team with 21 assists.
Next the Hawks took on Brooklyn College and defeated them 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-14). The loss dropped Brooklyn College’s record to 0-15.
First-year middle blocker Nick Denoncourt led the Hawks with 12 kills and 17 points. Hawks first-year setter Mitchell Kennedy’s performance was also key to the win, as he led the team with 34 assists. It was announced on March 2 that Denoncourt was named the UVC Rookie of the Week for the period ending March 1.
“Every conference win is a huge win, so naturally we were thrilled with our performance,” third-year co-Captain Kevin Nardone said.
After a successful weekend, the Hawks continued their success by handing No. 3 Kean University their first loss of the season as they defeated them 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-20) on Wednesday, March 4. This marked the third-straight season the Hawks defeated the No.1 ranked team in Div. III.
Hawks first-year outside hitter Anthony Bonilla led the team with 12.5 points and a match-high 11 kills. Smith led the Hawks with 21 assists and posted seven digs in the victory.
“It was a well-earned victory: a hard fought match that showed the team’s full potential,” Head Coach Radu Petrus said.
The Hawks then traveled across the river to Poughkeepsie, New York where they continued their strong play, as they won both of their matches for the second-straight UVC Crossover.
The first victory was at the hands of No. 8 Nazareth College. The Hawks were victorious by a score of 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-11).
Smith and Lutjen both led the Hawks with 15 kills each. Smith also led the team with 24 assists and 18 points. Lutjen was second in assists with 19 and his .682 hitting-percentage was a match-high.
The Hawks topped off their weekend with a 3-0 (32-30, 25-18, 25-21) victory against host Vassar College. The win put the team’s record at 11-3.
Smith was the star in the victory, as he led the team with 10 kills, 12 points and a .667 hitting-percentage. Lutjen contributed by leading the team with 19 assists and Bonilla had a match-high eight digs.
“I think the overall intensity and playing as a team has helped us tremendously as of late,” Smith said. “We have a talented group of players and it’s just a matter of all of that talent playing together as one.”
In the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Men’s Coaches Top 15 Week #7 Poll, New Paltz was ranked at No. 4.
The team’s next match will be at home against No. 10 New York University in a conference matchup on Thursday, March 12. The Hawks defeated New York University earlier this season on Thursday, Feb. 5 by a score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-20).