The Women’s volleyball team opened their season with a nonconference loss on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Despite leading the box score behind the service line, landing 10 aces to the opponent’s eight, the Hawks fell 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 16-25, 23-25) in a road matchup against Montclair State University.
In the first set, the Hawks rallied back from an early 2-0 deficit, by putting up eight-straight points. New Paltz would eventually win the set 25-19.
During the middle set, Montclair State scored four of the final five points of the set to capture a 25-21 victory.
Montclair State would also take the final two sets to win the match.
The highlight of the third set was a 5-0 run by the Montclair State Red Hawks, which opened their lead to 16-12. From there, they would tack on enough points to take a 2-1 match advantage.
In the final set, New Paltz drew within one point on seven separate occasions. Third-year right side hitter Katy Braddon kept the Hawks alive by hammering down a kill to pull New Paltz within one at 24-23. However, Montclair State would seal the set and match victory with their next point.
Fourth-year outside hitter Becca Borquist led the Hawks’ attack with 11 kills and a .320 hitting percentage. Hawks’ second-year setter Maddie Zwickl tallied 28 assists and defended 10 digs to complete a double-double. Third-year outside hitter Anna Paulik scored a team-high 12 digs during the match for the Hawks.
Head Coach Matt Giufre said it was exciting to open the 2015 season, but the way the team lost was disappointing. He said the team will need to work on offense, defense, blocking and passing to improve.
“We have a lot of work to do to achieve our postseason goals this year,” Giufre said. “There was some good effort there, but we are going to need to get better in some places.”
Last season, the Hawks compiled a 31-6 overall record and 9-0 undefeated record in conference play. They won the 2014 SUNYAC Tournament Championship and advanced to the 2014 NCAA Div. III Tournament where they fell to Haverford College 3-0 in the first round and were eliminated.
This year, the Hawks’ ultimate goal is to play in the National Tournament again.
“We certainly have a lot of work to do to get there, but this group is really talented and they are really committed to one another,” Giufre said. “There is no question about it that they are very capable of achieving that. As with any team, it’s going to take a lot of work to get there. But it certainly is for this team, it’s a very realistic opportunity for them.”
Paulik said the opening loss will make the team stronger.
“We now know what we need to work on and the loss only gives us more motivation to work harder,” she said. “We all need to work as hard as we can during these upcoming practices so we can be ready for our next match. This season our team of course wants to win, but a major part of that is to win as a team. Being able to play as a unit will only help us have a successful season.”
Giufre said this year’s team is still developing its competitive personality.
“We’ve only played one match, but last year’s team was able to stand up to a rally, and dig their feet in and hold their ground if the other team started to play well and not back down a little bit,” he said. “When Montclair started to get on a little bit of a run, we didn’t stand our ground quite as well as last year’s team would have. It’s only one match. We are certainly capable of doing that, there’s no question about it. We just didn’t do it in our first match.”
The Hawks will next participate in the Haverford/Swarthmore Tournament in Haverford, Pennsylvania, playing four matches in two days from Saturday, Sept. 5 to Sunday, Sept. 6. They will take on Carnegie Mellon University, Cabrini University, The City College of New York and Swarthmore College.