The women’s volleyball team started their seven-game road trip, 2-3, losing three in a row in the Ducks Classic Tournament before winning twice against SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) opponents.
The Hawks traveled to Hoboken, New Jersey for the Ducks Classic, beginning the weekend with a game against the Stockton University Ospreys on Sept. 20. Stockton narrowly won the first set 24-26, but New Paltz followed up with a 25-19 victory in the second. The Hawks had the 2-1 match advantage at the end of the third set, closely winning it 25-23. However, the Ospreys dominated the fourth set, handedly defeating the Hawks 25-10. New Paltz put up a close fight in the last set, but fell 19-17, giving Stockton the 3-2 win. Fourth-year Maddie Van Pelt unsurprisingly led the Hawks in kills with 15, and Kerri Neville scored five aces.
The following day, the Hawks kicked off their double header with a match against the Stevens Ducks. Despite the previous game going to five sets, the Ducks dispatched the Hawks relatively quickly in three sets, with 25-21, 25-19 and 25-13 Duck victories to earn the match win.
“We were just very flat and didn’t have the same fire in the eyes, and [Stevens] pretty much took it to us,” said Head Coach Matt Giufre.
The second game of New Paltz’s double header pitted them against the Cabrini Cavaliers. Cabrini had a flaming start, winning the first set 25-16. New Paltz fought toe-to-toe with Cabrini in the second set and managed to pull away with a 25-23 win. The Cavaliers responded in the third round with a relatively dominant 25-18 victory. The Hawks retaliated with an identical 25-18 fourth set win, but fell 18-16 in the concluding set. The loss to Cabrini concluded New Paltz’s unfortunate weekend, giving them an 0-3 record for the Classic. One bright side was third-year Haley Timarky’s remarkable 39 assist performance against the Cavaliers.
“The players have a lot of pride in how we play and how our results are,” Giufre said. “The results haven’t been what we were hoping for, so they’re extremely motivated to straighten that out before it’s too late.”
The Hawks hit the road again on Friday to face off against SUNYAC’s Fredonia Blue Devils. After a six-day rest, they were energized and it showed in the initial set, with the Hawks claiming a 25-14 win. Fredonia responded with a surprising 25-16 set victory, but New Paltz showed no mercy in the remaining sets. The Hawks won the third set 25-17 and the final set 25-20, giving them their first match win since Sept. 12 at Hunter College.
Buffalo was the next destination for the Hawks as they looked to string back-to-back wins, facing the Buffalo State Bengals. Similar to the previous game, New Paltz controlled the initial two sets, winning them 25-17 and 25-15, respectively. Despite the Bengals giving the Hawks a brief struggle in the third set, winning it 25-21, the women in blue and orange closed out the match with a 25-23 final set victory.
“We have a lot of important games in the next couple of weeks that are going to make or break our [postseason] opportunities,” Giufre said. “The most important part of our season is right now.”
New Paltz will finish their road trip with a game against Oswego on Friday at 6 p.m. and another against Cortland on Saturday, at 1 p.m.