The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz women’s volleyball team defeated conference opponent SUNY Oswego this past Friday 3-1.
The first set of the game was taken by the Knights 25-16, but the Lady Hawks maintained a point-by-point battle throughout. Fourth-year Maddie Van Pelt tallied three kills in the set and fourth-year Kerri Neville tallied four.
Van Pelt started the second set with a kill for the Hawks. The two teams battled back and forth for the lead, maintaining scoring margins within one or two point differences. When the score was 8-7 New Paltz, the Hawks trudged forward for three consecutive points with two kills from third-year Demi Herasme.
The Lady Hawks’ intensity called for a timeout from Oswego, but the Hawks remained ahead, gaining another two points after the timeout. The Knights fell dormant, as the Hawks’ offense continued to put pressure on their defense, gaining a lead of 18-9 before Oswego took their second timeout of the set. Oswego came back to earn six points and trail the Hawks 20-15.
The Hawks called their first timeout and came back with continued offense, winning the set 25-19. The Hawks carried their offensive intensity into the third set, beating the Knights 25-21.
Oswego brought the heat after New Paltz took the lead in the third set 8-7, scoring five consecutive points, pushing the Hawks into a timeout and taking the lead 12-8. The Hawks were powerful post-timeout, tying the set 12-12. The set continued to switch leaders on the scoreboard, but the Hawks came out on top 25-21.
The fourth and final set’s action mirrored that of the third, with consistent back-and-forth scoring for both teams. New Paltz took the leap into the lead after seven consecutive points were scored against the Knights. A service and attack error on the Knights and a team service ace gained the first three points during the momentum, then first-year Katie Steele, assisted by third-year Haley Timarky, gained three points, alongside a kill from Herasme. The Hawks took the set 25-22, clinching their third conference win.
“We played really well against Oswego, and found ourselves in a really tough match with them,” said Head Coach Matt Giufre. “It was a great character win for us, just keeping to compete point-for-point and not really giving in before the game was done.”
The next day, the Lady Hawks were back on the road and headed to Cortland for another SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) game against the Red Dragons.
With only eight points scored by the Hawks in the first set, Cortland took the win 25-8. In the second set, Van Pelt came firing after Cortland took the lead 9-4, scoring two kills with the help of Timarky to supplement the other three points earned from errors and an ace, tying the set 9-9. This momentum continued and the scoring margin remained slim, and New Paltz wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
With Cortland leading 22-15, the Hawks came back to trail 22-21. The Red Dragons maintained their lead and took the second set 25-22. The Lady Hawks fell in the third set, unable to battle consistently against Cortland, losing the set 25-16.
“Cortland came out playing really well and we tried a couple of adjustments, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get anything on our offense side going and find a consistent way to score points,” Giufre said. “They really took their game to us, and we just really had an off day, a bad day, and just didn’t really have an answer for it.”
Although the Hawks currently sit at .500 (8-8), and 3-2 in the conference, their record does not depict the picture of the SUNYAC team. Schedule difficulty, travel and consistency are all aspects in predicting a team’s success.
“I like the direction that we’re headed. We’ve got two huge matches this week at home in SUNYAC and two next week, and we need to win some of them to qualify for the tournament,” Giufre said. “If we can get that done… despite what our record is and having a lot of losses early on, I think we are moving very well in a good direction.”