The last games of the SUNY New Paltz men’s volleyball team’s road trip ended in success after defeating the Ramapo College Roadrunners 3-0 on March 4 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineers 3-1 on Friday.
New Paltz dove into their matchup with Ramapo with a three-game win streak. Additionally, the Hawks had a historical advantage against the Roadrunners, with a nine-game win streak against them that had lasted since 2011.
Ramapo scored the first point of the match off an attack error by New Paltz second-year outside hitter Brendon Spulnick, but the Hawks quickly returned the favor as second-year middle blocker John Ronan got the match’s first kill and tied the game at one.
The teams went one-for-one with points, not budging at all through the first half of the match. With the score tied at twelve, the Hawks scored three consecutive points to give themselves the seemingly minor three point edge, that would eventually help them win the set 25-21.
Set two saw an even more dominant performance from the Hawks, as they scored four consecutive points early to give them a 9-6 lead, adding onto that with a three-point streak later on for a 20-15 lead. New Paltz won the set 25-19 after three back-to-back Ramapo errors.
The Roadrunners held it close into the third set yet, as with the others, New Paltz built up a small lead that they were able to maintain over time, including another late three-point streak. The birds from the 845 won the set 25-19, sweeping the Roadrunners and extending their win streak against them to 10.
Fourth-year opposite hitter Aaron Carrk led the team in kills with 15, while fourth-year setter Matthew Grace had an impressive 37 assists.
Two days later, the Hawks were back in action in Cambridge, playing MIT for their final game of their two-week road trip. Similar to their streak against the Raiders, the Hawks had a six-game win streak against the Engineers, dating back to 2015.
Yet it was MIT who got the better start this time, building up a three-point lead in the first set. The two teams came down to the wire late, as New Paltz had the 22-21 lead before MIT scored four points in a row to win the set 25-21.
Set two began in a similar fashion to the previous one, as the Engineers fought their way to a 10-5 lead. However, the 2019 NCAA Division III champs had experience with being under pressure, and methodically clawed their way back into a lead. With the set tied at 19-19, a kill from Spulnick and a service ace from Grace put them in front, leading to their 25-23 set victory.
New Paltz scored seven consecutive points off the start in the following set to set the tone for the remainder of it, with the Hawks unsurprisingly taking the 25-21 win after an attempted Engineers comeback in the middle of the set.
The boys in blue and orange sealed their 3-1 match win in another call-and-answer set, managing to pull away from two late ties successfully to take the 25-23 set win.
The Hawks begin a five-game home stand on Friday as they host the SUNY New Paltz Invitational. New Paltz’s next game is against the Rivier University Raiders on Friday at 6 p.m in the Hawk Center.