Keep on Digging

Photo by Holly Lipka.

With a “cool confidence” the women’s volleyball team advanced to the 2016 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament semifinals.

The Hawks started their playoff run sweeping No. 6 seeded SUNY Oswego 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-20) in the quarterfinal match at the Hawk Center on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

With the win, the Hawks will next take on No. 2 seed SUNY Oneonta in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. hosted by The College at Brockport. 

Hawks head coach Matt Giufre said that all three first-years who played, right side Meghan Keyes, outside hitter Maddie Van Pelt and libero Nicole Fellone handled the moment of their first collegiate playoff match well, which contributed to the team’s success.

“Now that they got one under their belt, it’s always in the back of your mind when you’re in the playoffs, that feeling like ‘boy, any day can be our last day at this point,’” Giufre said. “And you do everything you can to not let that happen. So there’s some added pressure to that.”

For the first time in three years, the No. 3-seeded Hawks started their 13th consecutive playoff appearance playing in the quarterfinals. Since 2012, the Hawks have automatically advanced to the semifinals, after locking up the top or No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC standings. 

Additionally, Giufre credited the Hawks’ experienced veteran players as a key role in the win. 

“I think that their leadership allowed the younger players to go out there and do a good job,” Giufre said. “We’re talking about a senior class who played in the regional finals. That’s about as big as it can get. I think they did a really good job of keeping the temperature of the team in the right place.”

During the match, fourth-year outside hitters Morgan Roessler and Anna Paulik landed 12 kills apiece for the Hawks. 

For the five Hawks fourth-years, libero Meg Kinee, middle hitter Chantal Ramhorst, middle hitter Brittany Tyack, Paulik and Roessler, the match was the final on home court at the Hawk Center. 

“Playing at home helped a lot,” said Roessler, who was named the SUNYAC Volleyball Player of the Week, for the third time this season on Oct. 31. “The fans were great and playing one last game at home was awesome. It also helps a lot having played a midweek game before playing this weekend rather than waiting a whole week to play.”

In their final leg of the regular season, the Hawks dropped two out of three nonconference matches during the Skidmore Invitational last weekend. 

During the opening night of the Invitational on Friday, Oct. 28, the Hawks beat Ithaca College 3-2 (25-21, 17-25, 15-25, 25-22, 18-16)despite trailing 2-1 after three sets. Ithaca College is ranked No. 2 in the New York Region in the NCAA Div. III Women’s Volleyball regional rankings. It was announced earlier last week, the Hawks remained on the list as well. 

The following day, the Hawks fell to Union College 3-2 (28-30, 25-23, 25-17, 26-28, 10-15). Roessler downed a career-high 22 kills in the match. Additionally, Tyack registered a career-high 13 kills. 

Later that afternoon, the Hawks were shutout by host Skidmore College 3-0 (19-25, 21-25, 17-25). Roessler was named to the Skidmore Invite All-Tournament Team after the match. 

Last season, the Hawks fell to host The College at Brockport 3-1 (17-25, 12-25, 26-24, 20-25) in the SUNYAC Final, after blanking SUNY Oswego 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-22) in the semifinal match. 

For Giufre and the Hawks, they are only concerned with the task at hand—beating Oneonta, Giufre said. In their only meeting of the season, the Red Dragons beat the Hawks 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 21-25, 18-25) on Saturday, Oct. 22. 

“We’re not playing with last year’s team, and this year’s team has done a number of great things, and it’s been one of my most favorite teams I’ve had,” Giufre said. “I have 15 really, really good people on our team. Really good students, really selfless, committed people who are just a joy to be around all the time.”


What’s Next?

• The Hawks (third seed) will next face SUNY Oneonta (second seed) in the SUNYAC Tournament semifinals on Friday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. at The College at Brockport 

• The Hawks are 0-1 against Oneonta this season after falling 

3-1 on Oct. 22

About Melissa Kramer 157 Articles
Melissa Kramer is a fourth-year journalism major who lives for sports and music.