- Hawks win one of four matches at season-opening Invitational
- 14-0 fourth-set surge against North Park College leads Hawks to win
- Morgan Roessler named SUNYAC Player of the Week
The women’s volleyball team traveled to Illinois on Friday, Sept. 2 for the Elmhurst College Volleyball Invitational.
The Hawks are ready to compete despite a 1-3 start. Here are some key takeaways from the first weekend of play.
Growth in competitiveness
The Hawks dropped their first two games in three straight sets against Aurora University and Bluffton University on Friday. However, the offensive competition increased the next day, as the Hawks won against North Park University 3-2 and showed a big effort in a losing tiebreaker match.
Hawks head coach Matt Giufre talked about his observations of the team’s competitiveness over the course of the tournament.
“We faced some really good competition in the midwest,” he said. “On Friday, I don’t know if we really respected the level of competition we were playing against, and Saturday, it was like we were a different team. All of a sudden we raised our game to the level they were playing out there.”
In the matchup against Greenville College, fourth-year outside hitter Morgan Roessler dominated the offense with a match-high 18 kills and her fellow fourth-year outside hitter Anna Paulik had 14 kills and 16 digs.
When up against North Park College, the Hawks looked close to defeat after going down 17-8 in the fourth set. A 14-0 surge sparked the team to come back and win the set and the tiebreaker for the match win.
“Coming back in on Saturday we had a very tiring, tough loss in five games to Greenville,” Roessler said. “We had about a 20 minute break once that match ended to the start of the next one. That match we came back to win that game and the match was what we needed to end the weekend.”
Although the starters contributed largely to the win, Giufre mentioned the importance of the bench players throughout the Invitational.
“We had a very stable lineup, but we used some reinforcements off the bench in every match,” he said. “I think they did a good job of supporting each other and also staying ready to play. They came off the bench in certain moments and did a great job.”
This year’s team roster consists of five seniors, five freshman, three juniors and two sophomores, so there is no lack of age diversity amongst the players.
Giufre said that despite the long days and limited practice time, the trip benefitted the team as an off-the-court team chemistry builder.
“We were delayed and a little bit rushed to practice when we got there,” Giufre said. “There were some long days, but I think the team really enjoyed each other’s company and I thought that this trip was really key for them to get to know each other.”
Third-year libero Veronica Matedero: Matedero contributed largely on defense with 62 digs after starting the first four games.
Fourth-year libero Meg Kinee: Kinee contributed on defense with 24 digs of her own, along with two kills and two assists.
Roessler was named State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Player of the Week on Tuesday afternoon. She led the team in kills for three out of the four matchups, and contributed 16 kills, 13 digs and six aces against North Park.
“Veronica [Matedero] had a great weekend,” Giufre said. “She’s a spark plug for us and she was playing at a high level in all four matches. I thought that she and Meg [Kinee] were the most consistent on all levels over the course of the weekend.”
New Paltz will host the Hawks Invitational on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. After the four-game tournament, the Hawks will go up against Stevens Institute of Technology.
“We want to have that ‘choose to win’ mentality and we’re going to,” Giufre said. “We had some leads late in games that we didn’t finish. I think that’s something we have to work on in practice as a way to get through that hump.”