Men’s Volleyball Loses NCAA Finals Rematch

On Feb. 23, the men’s volleyball team defeated Kean University 3-0 (26-24, 29-27, 25-11) in Union, New Jersey. However, the team’s four-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday, March 1 in the Hawk Center with a defeat handed to them by No. 1 Springfield College.

Against Kean, third-year outside hitter Anthony Bonilla racked up 10 kills, three blocks and four digs in the match against Kean, while second-year outside hitter Bradley Schneider contributed eight kills of his own, as well as registering one service ace and four digs.

First-year setter Matthew Grace led the way with 23 assists, and fourth-year co-captain Steve Woessner chipped in eight more kills and recorded five blocks and two assists to seal the victory for New Paltz.

Woessner says that the ritual for each game doesn’t change whether they are coming off a win or a loss.

“The seniors before us have created a winning mentality and tradition, and it’s refreshing to see that the younger guys are adamant about keeping that tradition going,” Woessner said. “As long as we keep getting better and peak in April, the season will speak for itself.”

On Wednesday, March 1, the Hawks were defeated by No. 1 Springfield College in the Hawk Center in 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20).

Woessner racked up seven kills and two services aces against the Pride, while fourth-year co-captain Jake Roessler also contributed seven kills, as well as three digs.

In order to continue bounce back and build off their Div. III championship in 2016, Roessler says the team will have to play perfect volleyball.

“Div. III has some very good teams, so we have to stick to our game and go in with nothing to lose,” Roessler said. “Teams like Springfield were hungry and were ready for revenge, so we have to stick to our game.”

With the win against the Hawks, Springfield improves to 17-1 on the season.

Hawks head coach Radu Petrus says the key to success for the rest of the season will be to find the perfect strategy and to stay strong mentally.

“We have to improve a little each game,” Petrus said. “Our target is to be the best in the conference and advance to the NCAA tournament. We have the UVC Crossover this month which is important, and in April we have the last of our conference games which will show us where we stand.”

Up next, the men’s volleyball team will host No. 15 Juniata College on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Hawk Center, and will then host a UVC Crossover on Saturday, March 11 with matches against Elmira College at 11 a.m. and Bard College at 4 p.m.