The women’s volleyball team swept the Hawk Invitational, defeating Kean University 3-2 (25-23, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22, 15-13), Hamilton College 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22), Alfred University 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 25-19) and Williams College 3-1 (25-17, 25-9, 25-21, 25-22) at home to earn their first wins of the 2019 season.
The team’s victories on their Friday and Saturday games put them at 4-3 for the season, after a 0-3 start on the road against Scranton, Coast Guard and RIT, respectively.
“We changed our lineup a little bit,” said coach Matt Giufre. “And we tried to change our mentality. On opening weekend, we went out there a little timid. This weekend, we decided we have to play and act like a great team.”
New Paltz and Kean engaged in a call-and-answer style of game through the first set, with the Hawks’ biggest lead being a three-point margin over the Cougars. Kean garnered a late 22-19 lead before consecutively scoring three times to earn a win, leaving the set score at 25-23.
The game’s second set saw the Hawks down 9-6 early, but the Hawks turned their fortunes around quickly, tying the game at 10 before wrapping the set up with a narrow 2-point victory (26-24).
Set three saw the Hawks grab an early 5-4 lead before trading volleys, ending up at a 13-12 Hawks lead. Regardless, a late four-point streak and continued strong offense by the Cougars handed them the 25-23 victory.
The Hawks had a clear advantage in set four, as fourth-year Maddie Van Pelt’s five kills and multiple Cougar attack errors led New Paltz to a 25-22 victory, setting the stage for the sudden death fifth set.
The Cougars quickly gained a 7-3 lead, consistently holding off the Hawks until the Cougars led 12-9. New Paltz then went on a hot streak, scoring five unanswered points late to give them a 14-12 advantage before Van Pelt scored a kill, giving New Paltz the 15-13 set win and a narrow 3-2 victory.
“It is my last season, my last year, and we’re just going to have to be more aggressive and leave everything out on the court,” Van Pelt said.
The Hawks took to the floor a few hours later to face the Hamilton Continentals. Despite narrowly losing the first set by two points, New Paltz took the next three sets and won the game decisively 3-1.
Saturday morning saw the Hawks face the Alfred University Saxons in their first game of the day, sweeping them 3-0. Alfred narrowed their points deficit with each set, but New Paltz’s offense turned up in full force, putting up 33 kills and 10 aces to Alfred’s 20 kills and seven aces. Fourth-year Nicole Fellone led the Hawks with four aces in the lopsided battle.
The final game of the Invitational pitted the Hawks against Williams College’s Ephs. Despite the Hawks taking the first set 25-17, the team stumbled greatly in the second set, losing 25-9 after the Ephs scored 10 consecutive points. The Hawks soared right back, closely taking the last two sets and securing their sweep. First-year Mia Waddell scored two aces, equaled by third-year Olivia D’Antonio and second-year Nicole Cooke.
“If you can’t have good chemistry, you can’t come back from that [deficit],” Giufre said. “Their resilience really showed a lot, they get along really well, they really want the best for each other.”
The women’s volleyball team will travel to New York City on Thursday to face the Hunter College Hawks at 6 p.m.