Women’s Volleyball Remains Undefeated in SUNYAC

Hawks head coach Matt Giufre is happy with his team’s performance this season, as New Paltz finds them tied for first place with SUNY Geneseo in the SUNYAC, holding a 6-0 conference record. (Photo courtesy of Monica D'Ippolito/Office of Athletic Communications)

The women’s volleyball team breezed through its second weekend of State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) pool play, beating Oneonta 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23), Oswego State 3-1 (25-19, 16-25, 25-22, 25-17) and SUNY Potsdam 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-16).

The Hawks move to 18-4 on the year, boosting its undefeated SUNYAC record to 6-0. While New Paltz collected a playoff berth on the weekend, the Hawks are still tied with SUNY Geneseo for first place in the conference.

“We played with a lot of great effort, and played really good defensively to make some changes from that Williams match,” said Hawks head coach Matt Giufre. “We don’t think we played our best, but in conference play sometimes you have to win ugly.”

The Hawks played their best set in the first against Oneonta on Friday, Oct. 5, gaining a quick 5-2 lead off a second-year middle hitter Demi Herasme kill. The Red Dragons tied the set at seven, but a 10-1 run finished by another Herasme kill, put New Paltz up, 17-8.

Oneonta never recovered, as two fourth-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo kills and a third-year outside hitter Madison Van Pelt kill won the set for the Hawks, 25-15.

The Red Dragons traded places with New Paltz in the second, gaining a 5-2 advantage of its own. Boosting their lead to 10-4, the Hawks answered with a 8-3 run, cutting the score, 13-12.

A kill by Van Pelt down 14-17 sparked a come back for New Paltz. They accumulated four more unanswered points to take the 18-17 lead. Tied at 20-20, a kill by Cimillo and two by third-year middle hitter Kerri Neville put the Hawks up by three, and placed momentum on their side. Another Neville kill sealed the set, 25-21.

Tied at nine in the third set, Oneonta jumped ahead with five unanswered points to take a 14-9 lead. Close throughout, the Red Dragons held a 22-18 lead towards the end. A 7-1 run, closed off by a second-year outside hitter Julie Greenspan kill, took over the set for the Hawks, winning, 25-23.

“We went into the gym these last few days in practice with a different mindset,” Cimillo said. “We knew we had to play harder if we wanted to win a conference match.”

The next day, Oswego State came out strong in the first set against the Hawks, taking an early 8-5 advantage. At 9-6, a kill by Cimillo sparked an 8-2 run for New Paltz, taking the lead, 14-11.

At 15-14 Hawks, three kills by Cimillo and one by Neville put New Paltz ahead, 19-14, and forced a Lakers timeout. The stoppage of play could not stop the bleeding, as the Hawks jumped out with three unanswered-points afterwards to take full control at 22-14. They would win the set, 25-19.

A tight second set tied at eight, Oswego shifted momentum on their side with a six unanswered-point run of its own, taking the lead, 14-8. The Lakers continued to apply pressure, extending its lead to as far as eight at 22-14. Oswego tied the match at one, winning 25-16.

Waking up after the dropped set, New Paltz took an 8-3 lead in the third, forcing a Lakers timeout. This time, it worked. Oswego came right back with four unanswered-points, sitting behind, 7-8.

In a set that featured five ties, Oswego State came within striking distance with two kills to tie the match at 22, forcing a Hawks timeout. Coach Giufre’s message was heard, as two Van Pelt kills and a Neville service ace won the set for SUNY New Paltz, 25-22.

SUNY New Paltz continued to score in bunches in the fourth, extending its lead to as much as 12 within the set. The Hawks won the fourth, 25-17, and the match, 3-1.

Staying hungry later in the day, SUNY New Paltz gained an early 10-5 lead in the first against SUNY Potsdam. When the Bears climbed back to tie the set at 15, three Greenspan kills capped off by one from Cimillo forced a SUNY Potsdam time-out at 19-15.

The Hawk’s continued to score profusely once again, ending the set with a 6-2 run to take the 1-0 advantage, 25-17.

Four unanswered-points to open the second proved SUNY New Paltz came to play, forcing another Bears timeout. SUNY Potsdam fought back, taking the lead at 11-9.

A service error by the Bears spun momentum back on the Hawks side, as they scored five unanswered-points, capped off by a Greenspan kill, to take the lead, 14-11.

With SUNY Potsdam close behind, tying the set six times, the Hawks rallied with three unanswered-points to take a 22-20 lead. Up 24-23, Greenspan sealed the deal with a kill, putting SUNY New Paltz up, 2-0.

With the third set tied at nine, the Hawks made sure the match was decided. A Cimillo kill created a 7-2 run, taking the lead, 16-11. SUNY New Paltz kept putting points on the board, as a Van Pelt kill gave them the set, 25-16, and the win.

The Hawks return to action Friday, when they face off with Rowan University at Bard College Oct. 12 in the Hudson Valley Quad-match. They return home in the tournament the following day, playing Morrisville State College and Bard College.

“Being 6-0 in the SUNYAC, it feels really good,” said third-year outside hitter Madison Van Pelt. “We have the respect of others, and people have to bring their game if they want to beat us.”