The Women’s volleyball team has won five of their last six matches heading into State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Pool Play at New Paltz.
After playing three SUNYAC matches in less than 48 hours, the Hawks came away with a trio of 3-1 wins in Pool Play at Plattsburgh.
Head Coach Matt Giufre said the team played for pretty long stretches of time, which included some of the best volleyball they have played this year.
“We played well when we needed to,” he said. “Each match we had one game where we just underperformed. We’re still trying to be a bit more consistent. But the bright spot was, we maintained a high level of play for a longer period of time and we looked really good for long stretches of time. We’re starting to play at a higher level more frequently, which is exciting for sure.”
In the first match of Pool Play on Friday, Oct. 9, the Hawks defeated SUNY Oswego 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 14-25, 25-21).
The Hawks had the upper hand in hitting percentage (.154-.129) and blocks (11-6), while the Lakers posted seven service aces to the Hawks’ five.
Third-year middle hitter Morgan Roessler led the New Paltz attack with 13 kills, while fourth-year outside hitter Becca Borquist posted a double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs. Hawks second-year setter Maddie Zwickl completed a double-double as well, tallying 45 assists and defending 10 digs. Hawks third-year liberos Anna Paulik, Rachel Pierson and Meg Kinee contributed 21, 20 and 13 digs, respectively.
The next morning, the Hawks started their day off with another conference win, this time against host SUNY Plattsburgh 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-12, 25-20).
As a team, New Paltz led in the blocks category (15-3). Individually, Roessler compiled six total blocks (four solo, two assist).
On the offensive side, Borquist recorded another double-double, notching 17 kills and 18 digs.
Later that day, the Hawks took their third and final match of Pool Play at Plattsburgh with a 3-1 victory against Buffalo State (25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17).
The Hawks finished with the upper hand in hitting percentage (.142-.115) and service aces (7-3),
Borquist along with Zwickl also registered double-doubles with 16 and 11 digs, respectively. Pierson defended a career-high 34 digs.
The Hawks have now won 24 consecutive SUNYAC matches dating back to the implementation of the non-divisional conference schedule in 2013. The Hawks are just one of two undefeated teams remaining in the conference, as The College at Brockport is also 6-0.
Kinee said it feels like the team is improving on both its mental and physical game as a unit and they are seeing the results.
“I think we have learned something new about ourselves both as individual players and as a team every tournament weekend,” she said. “We’re excited to take all of that into this weekend against three more tough SUNYAC matches.”
Less than a week later, the Hawks took two of three nonconference matches while participating in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tournament in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
On Friday, Oct. 16, the Hawks swept Western New England University 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-17).
New Paltz rallied from an 18-14 deficit in the first set and ended up edging the Golden Bears by a 25-23 margin in the frame. Roessler led the match with four blocks. Paulik and Pierson tied for the match-high in digs with eight each.
The following morning another straight-set win was earned by New Paltz against St. Lawrence University 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-17).
A few hours later, No. 23 Massachusetts Institute of Technology handed the Hawks their first loss and snapped their five-match winning streak 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-15).
Despite taking the first set, 25-22, and holding a 19-17 lead in the second, the Hawks were unable to bounce back. Borquist recorded her fourth double-double in six matches. Kinee held up the back row defensively with 15 digs.
For their efforts throughout the weekend, Kinee and Paulik were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Next for the Hawks will be three conference matches at home during Pool Play at New Paltz. The Hawks, who have already clinched a 2015 SUNYAC Tournament playoff berth, will take on SUNY Cortland on Friday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. at the Hawk Center. The next day, the Hawks will match up against SUNY Oneonta (10 a.m.) and fellow undefeated conference counterparts The College at Brockport (12:30 p.m.).
With an overall record of 16-8 and conference tally of 6-0, Giufre said it is a good thing to see the team playing at level of success that they knew they could be playing at all season.
“It’s good that it’s a lot of our good plays happening now and I think more is in front of us, too,” he said.