Leading the Conference

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

The Women’s Volleyball team remains undefeated in the SUNYAC conference after defeating The College at Brockport, Buffalo State and SUNY Oneonta in the second round of SUNYAC pool play the weekend of Oct. 11.

Head Coach Matt Giufre said fourth-year captain Carrie Hack is a key element to the Lady Hawks’ continued success in conference matches, including the team’s 3-0 win over the Lady Golden Eagles Friday before beating Buffalo State 3-1 and  SUNY Oneonta 3-0 on Saturday.

“In our first round of pool play, Carrie wasn’t playing because of an injury,” Giufre said. “This time around she was back, and that helped us beat Buffalo State who were undefeated up until that point.”

Giufre also said the team’s mentality, which places importance on building upon what they have already accomplished and working to improve, rather than simply focusing on the next conference round, helps bring the Lady Hawks to a higher level of competition.

“One thing I’m most proud of is that they’ve never rested on their laurels,” Giufre said. “It’s easy to say ‘Hey, what we’re doing is working out great. Let’s keep this up.’ We are always evolving and thinking what we can do better.”

Giufre said third-year outside hitter Alex Bizub and fourth-year middle hitter Liz Hauser are two players who have come up strong in the last few weeks of conference competition, as well as first-year right side hitter Anna Paulik, who has been a “defensive force” for the team.

“Our goals are to host SUNYACs and to win,” Bizub said. “We have made it very far, but have not won in my two years playing here and this year is going to be different.”

A No. 1 spot in conference rankings guarantees the Lady Hawks home match advantage in the playoffs, but to Giufre, home court does not mean an automatic upper-hand in vying for the SUNYAC championship title. While a home match provides a positive atmosphere for the team to compete in, Giufre said it will not be a deciding factor in the Lady Hawks’ play.

“Any team in the conference can travel across the state and perform, we’ve seen it time after time,” he said. “It’s so hard to tell this year, a number of teams could win the championship. But we are confident in our abilities.”

The Lady Hawks, who have compiled a 24-5 overall record for the season, have also accumulated a 12-match winning streak after winning the Hartwick College Holiday Inn Tournament title Saturday.

The team defeated The City College of New York 3-0 and then SUNY Oneonta 3-1 to take home the title that provided them with their longest winning streak since 2010, when the Lady Hawks won 12 matches in a row from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.

“I think our success has boosted everyone’s confidence and given us a taste of what we can achieve,” fourth-year captain Marissa King said. “We know that it will not come easily, but we also know that we have the ability to do whatever we set our minds to.”

The Lady Hawks travel to Buffalo State this weekend to compete in their third round of conference pool play, taking on SUNY Oswego on Oct. 25, followed by SUNY Cortland and SUNY Potsdam on Oct. 26.


Abbott Brant