Although the regular season is over, the New Paltz men’s volleyball team was not done competing. On Friday, April 14, the Hawks competed in their 12th consecutive United Volleyball Conference (UVC). Top seed Vassar College hosted this year’s UVC across the river in Poughkeepsie. The Hawks defeated Elmira College 3-0, New York University 3-0 and St. John Fisher College 3-2. Their one pitfall was with Vassar College on their home turf, with the Hawks defeated 1-3.
On the following day, Saturday, April 15, the Hawks went head to head with third seed St. John Fisher College in the UVC Semifinals.
The St. John Fisher Cardinals had a 14-19 lead in the first set, and after another 4-and-1 run, they jumped the score up to 15-23. The Hawks started to catch up at 23-17 but sadly fell short when St. John Fisher won the set 17-25.
New Paltz started out strong in the second set with a 10-4 lead after back-to-back service aces by graduate student and outside hitter Brendan Spulnick. Fourth-year opposite Patrick Wing pushed the team’s lead to 18-14 with a kill. The set came to an end with the Hawks’ victorious 25-17.
Unfortunately, New Paltz got caught in a 2-7 deficit, and they never led in the third set. At one point, the Hawks caught up 15-11 following four straight kills by Spulnick. When the game came to a close, the Hawks were defeated at 18-25.
Initially, the Hawks led in the fourth set 16-14, but an unfortunate turn of events set St. John Fisher in the lead 16-20. This lead then was capped with an attacking error. Wing revived the Hawks, and they made a comeback with the score 20-23. The set ended with a 20-25, sending the St. John Fisher Cardinals to the championship.
First-year outside hitter Teddy Teraszkiewicz shared his feelings with regards to the team not coming out on top at the semifinals. “I think it’s wonderful that we made it as far as we did into the tournament, although we definitely had potential to make it further,” said Teraszkiewicz. “We had a very talented group of players this year, who were all very determined to make this season count, but unfortunately things didn’t go our way in the semifinals.”
Wing and Spulnick, along with two other graduate students, setter Kyle Shaffer and middle blocker John Ronan, were given All-Region recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
“Being named second team is definitely an honor because we play in the hardest conference in Division Three,” Spulnick said. “I know the true potential of my team and we did not show that Saturday against St. John Fisher and that’s why we walked away with a loss.”
“I think personal accomplishments are always something that should be recognized but this is not an individual game,” Shaffer revealed. “I am extremely happy to see my team succeed as if they are all doing well, as the setter, I know that I am doing my job. That’s all that matters.”