Women’s Volleyball Moves Winning Streak to Six

Fourth-year setter Meredith Dignan currently leads the team in assists with 831. (Photo courtesy of Robin Weinstein/Office of Communications and Marketing)

The women’s volleyball team swept 3-0 for the fifth-straight weekend, beating Rowan University 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-19), Morrisville State College 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 27-25) and Bard College 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-15) in the Hudson Valley Quad Match.

The Hawks move to 21-4 on the year, and will finish their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) pool play schedule this weekend.

“We played tough competition again this weekend,” said Hawks head coach Matt Giufre. “We played three teams with three different styles and had to adapt to all of them. I’m proud of the girls for how they handled that.”

Opening the first set against Rowan with a 9-5 lead courtesy of a third-year middle hitter Kerri Neville kill, the Profs fought back to tie the set at 10. In a set that featured eight ties, Rowan gained full advantage up 18-17, when an attack error by New Paltz led to a 6-3 run to take a 24-20 lead. The Profs would win the set, 25-22.

With the second tied at eight, the Hawks gained the lead off a fourth-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo service ace, trying to expand it throughout the entire set. Up 15-13, a kill by second-year middle hitter Demi Herasme and one by Cimillo boosted New Paltz to its largest lead so far at 17-13.

After a service error by the Hawks put the Profs behind by four, New Paltz went on an 8-1 run, taking the second set, 25-15, to even the match at one.

The set win gave the Hawks the confidence they needed, opening up the third with a 9-3 lead. Although Rowan fought back to get behind two at 11-9, New Paltz continued to score profusely, gaining a five point lead off a fourth-year setter Meredith Dignan service ace and a second-year outside hitter Julie Greenspan kill at 15-10.

The Hawks never looked back, extending their lead to as much as eight to take the set, 25-17.

Bringing momentum back on their side, New Paltz looked to finish business in the fourth, taking a 12-5 lead off two Cimillo service aces and a Profs attack error. Rowan never saw the lead again, as the Hawks scored in bunches to decide the match.

A last minute effort by the Profs to break-up a well established lead did not work, as New Paltz took the set, 25-19, and the match, 3-1.

Getting off to a slow start the next day, the Hawks allowed Morrisville State to take an early 8-4 lead in the first set. SUNY New Paltz climbed back to tie at eight, followed by a four-unanswered point run filled with three kills by third-year outside hitter Madison Van Pelt and one by Neville to take the lead, 12-9.

A timeout by the Mustangs sparked a five-unanswered point run of their own, jumping back in front at 15-13. Tied again at 18, a Cimillo kill shifted the set back on the Hawks side, as an attack error, Cimillo service ace and Van Pelt kill put New Paltz in front, 21-18.

Up 23-20, three errors in a row by the Hawks tied the set back at 23. An attack error, followed by a Dignan service ace, gave New Paltz the 1-0 advantage at 25-23.

The tight set woke the Hawks up, jumping to a 9-4 lead in the second. New Paltz continued to score with vigor, gaining its largest lead at 15-6.

A five-unanswered point streak by the Mustangs, however, made the set competitive again, only trailing by three at 17-14.

Finishing strong up 19-15, two Greenspan kills, an attack error and a third-year libero Nicole Fellone service ace put the Hawks in front, 23-15. New Paltz took a 2-0 lead at 25-19.

The Hawks showed they wanted to get out of the gym early in the third, taking a 10-4 lead to start the set. Never giving up, Morrisville State had a six-unanswered point run to tie the set back at 10.

In a set that featured 11 more ties, an attack error by the Mustangs made everything even at 25. Two attack errors by New Paltz, however, gave Morrisville State the set, 27-25.

With the Hawks up 13-8 in the fourth set, the Mustangs once again fought back to tie things even at 13. Back and forth throughout, New Paltz held the lead at 23-20. Another four-unanswered point run by Morrisville State put them in front 24-23, and momentum on their side.

With the Mustangs up 25-24, three attack errors gave the Hawks the set, 27-25, and the match, 3-1.

“Our win against Morrisville was tough, but we were able to pull through,” Dignan said. “The big difference was our effort. Morrisville is a really good team, and it was really good competition. We’re glad we got to play them.”

Earning the hard-fought win, the Hawks asserted their dominance early in the second match against Bard College, taking a 11-4 lead in the first set. New Paltz continued to score in bunches, with a kill by third-year outside hitter Emily Visintini and an attack error giving the Hawks the set, 25-14.

The second set was more of the same, as a six-unanswered point run capped off by kills from second-year setter Haley Timarky and Van Pelt put New Paltz up, 15-4. Never taking the foot off the pedal, the Hawks took a 2-0 lead with the 25-13 set win.

Using much of its bench throughout the match, New Paltz finished strong, taking another large lead in the third at 15-5. Not missing a beat, the Hawks defeated Bard handily, winning the set 25-15 and the match, 3-0.

“Our practices have been really tough and competitive,” Hersame said. “It’s been transitioning into the games, and we’ve just been playing really well.”