Men’s Volleyball Continues Win Streak

Photo by Matt Nash.

The men’s volleyball team is on an 11-game winning streak, and is currently 9-0 against Div. III teams this year. 

New Paltz faced a busy weekend as they played six games in a three day span from Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5. 

Hawks head coach Radu Petrus explained that letting some of the starters rest and giving younger players more playing time helped contribute to the team’s competitiveness over the weekend. 

“We have a lot of good players and they’re all competitive,” Petrus said. “We’re looking to give the freshmen playing time and having a competitive team showed that it wasn’t a problem to rest some of the starting players, especially with playing six matchups.”

The Hawks participated in the Nazareth Golden Flyer Invitational on Friday and Saturday, dropping only one set in the four games they participated in.

First the Hawks defeated Elmira College 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-16). New Paltz came out to a slow start, dropping their first and only set of the tournament to start off the game. 

Third-year outside hitter Anthony Bonilla recorded a match-high 14 kills and fourth-year middle blocker Jake Roessler finished with 12. 

First-year setter Matthew Grace contributed with 46 assists. He currently has 500 assists in 14 matches for his career, which is well on pace to surpass Christian Smith’s, ‘16, career total of 2,972 assists over the next few years.

The Hawks then went on to gain 3-0 sweeps against Johnson & Wales University, No. 14 Rivier College and Medaille College, respectively.  

The following day, the Hawks traveled back home to go up against Alderson Broaddus University and St. Joseph’s College-LI. This would be the team’s fifth and six games in three days. 

The Hawks stayed poised and swept Alderson Broaddus University 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-17) in the first matchup, which saw Bonilla deliver 12 kills and six service aces. 

Fourth-year middle blocker Steven Woessner also stepped up with seven kills and four blocks, a defensive category Petrus noted the team needed to improve on.

“Overall this weekend, we used more combinations of players,” Petrus said. “It was important to create more trust among the players, but we have to work more on blocking in the upcoming games.” 

The Hawks faced St. Joseph’s College-LI shortly after the game, and only dropped the second set against them to win by a score of 3-1 (25-18, 16-25, 25-20, 25-15).

Bonilla and third-year middle blocker Ryan Cole registered a team-high 12 kills apiece. Fourth-year middle blocker C.J. Borfitz and third-year middle block Nick Denoncourt each recorded seven kills as well. 

On Feb. 6 it was announced that Grace had earned United Volleyball Conference, (UVC), Rookie of the Week honors for the second-straight week, while Bonilla took home UVC Player of the Week.

The following day, it was announced that the Hawks retained their No. 2 ranking in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association, (AVCA), Top 15 Poll.

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the Hawks notched a 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-18) win against Ramapo College to boost their record to 12-2. The Hawks began the first set with a 20-7 run and never looked back. 

The Hawks will next travel to Erie, Pennsylvania to participate in the UVC Crossover against No. 9 NYU and Penn State-Behrend on Saturday, Feb. 11.