The Women’s volleyball team was unable to defend their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title as they fell to The College at Brockport in this year’s SUNYAC final.
New Paltz advanced to the finals in way of defeating SUNY Oswego in the semifinals 3-0 in a straight-set sweep (25-13, 25-13, 25-22) on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Hawks fourth-year outside hitter Becca Borquist and third-year middle hitter Morgan Roessler led the Hawk attack with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Second-year setter Maddie Zwickl dished out 28 assists. Defensively, third-year libero Anna Paulik tallied 12 digs, while Roessler, third-year middle hitter Brittany Tyack and third-year right side Katy Braddon totaled four blocks each.
Hawks Head Coach Matt Giufre said the feeling as a team is not the greatest as a result of the season’s end.
“We felt that we were destined to have a better season,” he said. “We feel like we underperformed and definitely fell short of our expectations. We worked really hard over the last 12 months to win another championship and get back in the national tournament and it just did not happen this year. I am proud of the team for their commitment, working hard and giving it their all. I am certainly not disappointed in the people, just disappointed in the outcome.”
The following day, the Hawks fell to the Golden Eagles 3-1 (17-25, 12-25, 26-24, 20-25). The Golden Eagles hit .229 as a team. They also outblocked New Paltz, 11-6, while the Hawks held a 10-6 edge in service aces.
In the third set, the Hawks took the lead 17-12 and were able to hold on.
The Hawks were able to tie the fourth set at 13 apiece after third-year libero Rachel Pierson landed three-straight service aces.
Borquist and Hawks second-year libero Veronica Matedero were selected to the All-Tournament Team as a result of their performances during the course of the weekend.
Roessler said she is disappointed in the way the team finished their season.
“I thought that we had such great talent this year and was hoping we would come out with a conference championship or at least a bid to the national tournament and unfortunately we did not.” she said. “We lost too many important games throughout the season that would have helped us. I am upset that the season ended earlier than we all had hoped but this season was amazing and I loved everyone and every part of it.”
Giufre said the Hawks were enthusiastic and positive going into the final against their Brockport opponent who held a 32-1 record.
“We felt like they were due for another loss and like we were good enough to beat them,” he said. “Doing that is very difficult. They are very good and well-coached. Their offense is really powerful and their defense is fast. There are not very many flaws in their game and in their team. They are just an exciting team to watch. We wish them a lot of luck going forward in the NCAA Tournament. But we felt like we had a good plan and that if we executed it and played good volleyball, we would have a chance to beat them and we just were not able to do that.”
Borquist, the team’s lone fourth-year, finished her career as one of top student-athletes in the history of the New Paltz Women’s volleyball program, as she is now ranked among the program’s all-time leaders in kills (1,744, second), digs (1,647, fourth) and service aces (200, fifth). She also is one of only two student-athletes in the history of the program to tally at least 1,500 kills and 1,500 digs.
She said the feelings are tough to handle right now because of the finals loss.
“Our team is very close and talented, so it’s never easy in these situations,” she said. “I think the team is going to work even harder for next season in the gym and the weight room. There are eight seniors with a lot of great experience, talent and leadership.”
After finishing the season with a record of 22-11, the Hawks will work out and recruit to improve their team during the offseason, Giufre said.
“The coaches are going to learn some new things to bring to our team,” he said. “We are going to recruit and improve our team that way. The same as any other offseason. That process does not really change too much. We will come back strong. This is a good group. We will come back stronger and ready to win more.”