The New Paltz Women’s Volleyball team has once again split their weekend, holding on to their .500 on the season.
On Friday, Oct. 22 the Geneseo Knights traveled to Hawk Center as New Paltz celebrated their Senior Night. The game proved early on that it would be a challenging and competitive one.
New Paltz started the game off strong: they earned the first two points of the set which set the tone, and capitalized on many errors — a whopping 14 in total — from the Knights. By the end of the set New Paltz had a decent lead over Geneseo, but a kill each from third-year middle hitter Victoria Konicki and third-year outside hitter Katie Steele solidified a 25-16 set one victory.
During the next set, it appeared Geneso recovered mightily from their many errors we saw earlier. New Paltz had a 14-11 lead over them, but a seven point scoring streak humbled the Hawks. Even solid kills from the dynamic duo of third-year right side hitter Makenzie Bills and second-year outside hitter Mackenzie Williams couldn’t give New Paltz the win: Geneseo finished the second set off with two service aces to triumph New Paltz 25-18.
With the game tied, the next set was crucial to see where New Paltz would stand. Unfortunately, it did not go in their favor. New Paltz came back from a 11-7 deficit to tie the game at 12, but soon after Geneseo found their momentum and took the set 25-16.
In this next do or die situation, New Paltz gave it their all. Kills from first-year middle hitter Letisha Perez, fourth-year middle hitter Hannah Miller, Williams, Bills and Konicki kept them alive, but could not give them the victory they deserved. Geneseo took set four 25-18, and with that, the game, 3-1.
“We proved to ourselves in the first set against Geneseo that we can compete with a really high level team, and almost got a little too worked up,” Miller said. “We had the night to settle down, relax and play at the high level we proved to ourselves we could the day before. We went in [to Brockport] knowing that if we stayed focused and played true to our game aggressively we would come out on top!”
Brockport arrived at 1 p.m. for a green out game, in support of mental health awareness. Coming off of a loss and facing a tough competitor is never easy, but New Paltz looked energized and ready to compete this next day.
Set one was neck and neck and tied 13 times. Only this could have proved the dominance of both teams, and the unwillingness to give up the lead. With a set needing to be won by two points, who came out on top of this lengthy battle?
New Paltz did. A kill from Miller and a Brockport attack error put an end to the madness. New Paltz took a hold of that momentum and let it carry over into set two, where they took six points in a row (half on service aces alone) and silenced Brockport again, 25-17.
“I was proud of my performance, but you really can’t score points without your other teammates working together to help you get that done, so I’m mostly proud of everyone contributing to help me score,” Miller said. “It goes so much deeper than that moment in scoring the point. Everyone on the team, even on the bench, creates a certain environment that helps you win that one point!”
Brockport was not done fighting, however. Some of their star players went on kill runs of their own, putting the Hawks in the hole. Set three ended with a 25-16 Eagle victory, forcing the game to once again carry into set four.
Would New Paltz take all or would Brockport get one more fighting chance?
The Hawks started it off with a 9-2 lead over the Eagles with Williams contributing three kills to those points. After that, though, the Eagles slowly caught up, with it getting as close to 17-16. It was still anyone’s set, and frankly, anyone’s game.
In the end, Miller, Konicki and Perez sealed the deal, earning a total of four kills, bringing the score to 25-20. The game was over and New Paltz won 3-1, pretty exciting as it was their last game in the conference.
“This is the highest level of volleyball we felt we played all year,” Miller said. “Each week with practice we are improving mentally and physically and you can see that in our results. We are going to continue working in the gym as if every practice we are competing for a game to continue our high energy.”
Some other leaders in the game worthy of mention were second-year setter Cate DiGiacomo, who led the team in assists with 33, and third-year libero Mia Waddell who led in digs with 10.
The team has four games left in the regular season, but only one left at home. They will be hosting Vassar College at Hawk Center on Wednesday, Oct. 27, as they hope to tack on a few more wins to finish out their season.
“We are very excited to play Vassar! Every time we get in a game situation, if it’s not for a conference game, it is an opportunity to test things we want to do in conference play. So we get super excited to showcase the stuff we work on during practice to see if it will work on opponents!” Miller said.