The Men’s volleyball team had a hot streak this week, winning three games in a row, starting with a 3-0 home victory against the Sage Colleges on Wednesday, Feb. 21. This win ensured the Hawks perfect record at home, 2-0 this season thus far, and helped bring the Hawks to the 9-4 overall record that they currently hold.
The first two sets were fairly close, ending 25-19, while the third set ended with a score of 25-15. Two impact players for the match were third-year setter Nick Smith and fourth-year middle-blocker/outside hitter Ryan Cole, tallying up 15 and 13 kills, respectively. On the defensive side, the team was led by second-year libero Robert Nolan who got eight digs, and were also aided by second-year setter Matthew Grace and fourth-year outside hitter Anthony Bonilla who contributed with four digs and two digs respectively.
After the first set, the Hawks only got more efficient, with their scoring percentage starting at a .417 in the first set, and increasing to .462 in the second set and .536 in the third. Both teams were fairly even in errors, with Sage tallying 10 errors in total and the Hawks tallying 11. The difference was in the attempts, with the Hawks having 78 total attempts to Sage’s 46.
In their second match of the week, the Hawks traveled to Patchogue, New York to take on St. Joseph’s College at 11 a.m. Third-year outside hitter Nick Smith had a major impact on the match, amassing 30 kills over 47 attempts and clocking in a .553 hitting percentage.
“The whole team did a good job this past week and Nicholas Smith was the best in our offense,” said head coach Radu Petrus.
Other significant contributors were outside hitter Ryan Cole with 15 kills and one ace, and Bradley Schneider with six kills, two blocks and 53 assists. The Hawks won the first set with a ten point lead, finishing 25-15. The second set was a much closer affair, with back and forth scoring culminating in a 24-24 tie that the Hawks capitalized on to get a close 26-28 win. The Hawks lost the third set 19-25, but bounced back with a clutch fourth set performance. Another tight set, ending with a 25-20 win for the Hawks, gave them a 3-1 victory against St. Joseph’s.
The Hawks got back on the court at 1:30 p.m to go against Emmanuel College. The Hawks beat them with relative ease, winning all three sets with scores of 15-25,17-25 and 18-25. The match’s top scorers were Ryan Cole, Nick Smith and Bradley Schneider, scoring 11, 10 and seven kills respectively. Ryan Cole was a force on defense as well, amassing two blocks and nine digs. Nolan and Grace also contributed with eight and six digs, respectively. The Hawks dominated this match, scoring 58 total points to Emmanuel’s 23.
“I think that as a team we did a great job of serving and passing which is very key in the men’s game,” said Smith. “Matt Grace our setter put our hitters up with no block or one blocker which makes the game so much easier as a hitter.”
Smith also had good things to about first-year middle blocker Tevin Skeete. “I think that Tevin Skeete really stepped up and swung well in the middle for us, having that balanced attack is going to be key especially moving forward into March and April,” he said.
After a hot week, the Hawks hope to carry on their success into this week when they will be facing nationally ranked Dominican University and UC Santa Cruz. However, after the team’s win this season against Division I opponent Harvard, they have reason to be confident in their ability to take on the competition.
“The team and I feel very prepared for games against Santa Cruz and Dominican,” said Cole. “Having a good week of productive practice will help also. Beating Harvard was a great experience for us as a team and definitely gave us confidence that we can hang with great teams so I am looking forward to a fun weekend with the competition we have in front of us.”
Coach Petrus also shared similar sentiment.
“I definitely think we have the potential to win a match, or both, it all depends on the team chemistry,” he said. “Teamwork is the key to success, work together and follow the team strategy in defense and offense without hesitation.”