Men’s Volleyball Looks To Spike Back

The Men’s volleyball team has lost two straight matches.

The Hawks lost to No. 1 ranked Stevens Institute of Technology in three sets (24-26, 12-25, 22-25) in a United Volleyball Conference (UVC) matchup on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Hawks third-year middle blocker Christopher Husmann registered a team-high .500 hitting percentage. First-year outside hitter Anthony Bonilla tallied seven kills during the match.

Stevens third-year outside hitter Tim Ferriter – who was a two-time All-American at New Paltz in 2013 and 2014 – tallied seven kills, seven digs, two block assists and one ace in his first meeting against the Hawks.

Hawks third-year co-Captain Christian Smith led the team with 10 kills on a .400 hitting percentage. He also recorded a team-best 16 assists. Smith said the team needs to refocus mentally and bounce back, as well as have a solid week of practice before upcoming matches.

A week later, on Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Hawks were defeated by No. 8 Springfield – the reigning, three-time National Champions, three sets to two (25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 8-15).

Husmann led the Hawks with 22 kills. He also contributed a hitting percentage of .704, a new Hawk Center record in a five-set match and ranks second best in single match program history. Smith tallied a team-high 29 assists for the Hawks.

Hawks Head Coach Radu Petrus said after the consecutive losses, the team is going to look at the reasons why the team lost and work on defensive strategies during practice.

Third-year co-Captain Kevin Nardone said the team needs to take a step back and refocus on their growth as a team.

“We have a ton of individual talent, it’s just a matter of meshing more as a unit,” he said.

The Hawks are now ranked No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-15 Week Five Poll released on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Petrus said he is optimistic and believes with a couple of wins, New Paltz can move up the No. 2 ranking.

Bonilla was named Corvias Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) North Rookie of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Feb. 15 for the second time this season. He said it feels good to know that he is making a contribution to the team.

“Since I’m a freshman, things like that really give me a positive confidence boost going through the season,” he said. “I’m just going to use the title as motivation to keep staying on top of my game.”

Petrus also feels that Bonilla is doing good things for the team.

“He’s a freshman and is a good contribution to our team,” he said. “He is not very tall, but he compensates with his ability.”

With a 6-3 overall record and 2-1 record in UVC play, the Hawks next travel to Langhorne, Pennsylvania to participate in the Cairn Tri-Match on Saturday, Feb. 28 and take on Cairn University and Brooklyn College.