Women’s Volleyball Falls Short of Deep SUNYAC Playoff Run

On Nov. 1 and 2, the SUNY New Paltz women’s volleyball team closed out their regular season after traveling to Skidmore College for the Skidmore Invitational.

On Nov. 1 at 5 p.m., the Lady Hawks began by competing against the Union College Dutchmen. Union started off the first set with two kills from third-year outside hitters Lara Atalay and Gillian Gore, and grabbed a point off an attack error by New Paltz’s second-year outside hitter Courtney Gebhardt. New Paltz matched their energy and bounced back, earning six points from an Atalay service error, Gore and third-year outside hitter Julia Louis attack errors, kills by fourth-year outside hitter Maddie Van Pelt and third-year middle hitter Demi Herasme, making the score 6-3. This back and forth continued, until New Paltz began to dominate the match 12-7, but the Dutchmen were not backing down. 

Union had a four-point streak, coming back behind the Lady Hawks at 13-11. After remaining neck-and-neck, New Paltz pushed forward with a five-point streak (Atalay service error, kill from Gebhardt, two service aces and a ball handling error on Union’s third-year setter Sage Shimamoto), making the box score 21-15.

The Dutchmen attempted to defensively hold New Paltz, but efforts ran out when a kill by fourth-year middle Kerri Neville ended the set, 25-23.

New Paltz dominated the second set, beating the Dutchmen 25-19. This set mirrored the first, as both teams remained close in score until the Lady Hawks led 12-9. Union attempted to score in time, but the Hawks continued to tally on points with kills from first-year outside hitter Katie Steele and third-year outside hitter Julie Greenspan, three errors on Union, two more kills by Hawk Gebhardt and Herasme, making it 19-14. Union tacked on two points and Gebhardt and Van Pelt got kills both from Timarky, upping the sore to 21-16, almost completely shutting the Dutchmen out.

A kill from Van Pelt and three errors on Union ended the set score with the Hawks winning 25-19.

A close third set ended at 25-22 New Paltz, who took the win 3-0. This third set included another tight set mirroring the first two, with consistent tallying of points on both sides. Many errors from the Dutchmen ultimately defined their game against the Lady Hawks. In the first set, Union had seven errors to New Paltz’s four; in the second, Union had eight to the Hawks’ five, and in the third, New Paltz led with six to their five. Although the two teams tied in kills (40) and assists (34), the Hawks defeated Union in points (52.0 to 46.0), aces (5-2), blocks (7-4) and digs (61-60). 

On the second day of the invitational, Nov. 2 at noon, the Lady Hawks defeated the Morrisville State Mustangs 3-2 in a five-set match.

The Lady Hawks trailed behind the Mustangs for most of the first set, but caught up after a five-point streak, making the score 13-12 New Paltz. Two kills from first-year outside hitter Brianna Gates, one from second-year middle hitter Jillian Hoffman and a service error from New Paltz’s fourth-year libero Nicole Fellone, bringing the Mustangs up 19-16. Greenspan offered two kills and Herasme offered one, but the Lady Hawk’s still fell short, losing the first set 25-23.

In the second set, Neville forged forward for the Lady Hawks, with four kills in the second set, while Van Pelt, Herasme and Greenspan followed with three and Steele followed with two. This intensity on their offense led the Hawks to a victorious second set, 25-23.

In the third set, the Lady Hawks mirrored the second and took the win 25-19. New Paltz had 16 kills while Morrisville had 14 in this third set, while attack errors on the Mustangs assisted New Paltz in gaining the lead fast, while also maintaining it. Morrisville took the fourth set 25-18. Interestingly enough, throughout all four of the first sets, the team who scores the first point, ended up winning the set in the end.

In the sudden death fifth set, the first to 15 points, New Paltz took the win 15-13, giving them the win 3-2. The first four kills of the set came from Herasme, while Neville and Van Pelt had two and Steele had one.

“The Skidmore Invitational is always a good one to wrap up the regular season since the competition is strong,” Head Coach Matt Guifre said. “We were able to play a very clean match Friday against Union, and come back Saturday for a hard fought win over a very tough Morrisville team, especially down 11-13 in the fifth set coming back to win 15-13.”

The Lady Hawks finished off their weekend at 2 p.m. against the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds, but New Paltz caught the loss 3-2.

“Against Skidmore I used different combinations of people and although we came up just short of a win, I’m proud of how we competed,” Giufre said. 

The Hawks and the Thoroughbreds started the first set neck and neck, however when Skidmore took the lead 22-19, the Lady Hawks pushed forward to fight, as second-year middle hitter Hannah Miller, Greenspan and Gebhardt all offered kills to finish the set 25-22.

The Thoroughbreds started off the second set powerfully, starting to tally points with two kills from fourth-year middle hitter Katy Ehnstrom and one from fourth-year outside hitter Sophia Hettler, giving them a 6-3 lead. Hettler and Ehnstrom kept up their appearance and tallied on another kill each, and after supplementing  with an attack error and service ace, Skidmore led 10-4. The Lady Hawks were able to score 10 points in the set, but not before the Thoroughbreds took it 25-10. Sadly, 10 of their points were earned off of New Paltz’s own attack errors.

In the third set, New Paltz held their own and took the close win 25-23. Skidmore, however, would take the final two sets 25-21 and 15-10, earning the win against the Lady Hawks 3-2.

The Lady Hawks’ season ended on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in a quarterfinal match loss against SUNY Oneonta 3-2. 

“I think we are all happy in a way to put the regular season behind us and move into the postseason. It’s what you train for year round,” Giufre said prior to their final game. “The regular season this year was a real grind, and we struggled to find the consistency we’ve had for the last number of years. I’m proud of how the team really came together and fought through rather than splintering apart during our struggles. They showed great toughness and resilience.”

Let’s hope the women’s volleyball team can come back stronger than ever in the 2020 season.

About Susanna Granieri 76 Articles
Susanna Granieri is a fourth-year journalism and digital media production major. This is her fifth semester with The Oracle. Previously, she worked as an Arts & Entertainment Copy Editor and Sports Editor. She is passionate about journalism and being a watchdog for our local issues and news in the Village of New Paltz. She has also written for the Legislative Gazette, the Southern Ulster Times and Being Patient. She will continue her journalism career in the fall of 2021 at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.