The New Paltz women’s volleyball team had a dominant and exciting weekend. Between Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11, New Paltz hosted three schools for the Hawks Invitational. Mount Saint Mary College, Alfred State and Russell Sage challenged New Paltz, but all fell short as the Hawks took a 3-0 win on the weekend.
Second-year outside hitter Mackenzie Williams said the mood going into the weekend was very exciting.
“We all worked very hard this week during practice and it was good to see our hard work pay off,” Williams said.
The weekend kicked off with Mount Saint Mary on Friday at 5 p.m. In set one, the Hawks held a lead over the Knights that only got threatened after a few New Paltz attack errors, which caused Mount Saint Mary to earn six points and take a 14-13 lead over New Paltz. However, the Hawks bounced back and earned nine points of their own. Three of those points came from third-year right side hitter Makenzie Bills who earned three kills in a row. After that, New Paltz took an easy win for set one, 25-18.
Set two was similar in that the Hawks kept a strong lead over the Knights. Mount Saint Mary did have a seven point streak, but it didn’t cover up all of the mistakes they made: the Hawks earned those seven points back off of Knights errors alone. New Paltz took set two 25-20.
Set three was a bit more challenging. This time, the Knights started with the lead, but they couldn’t hold on to it: New Paltz came back from a seven point deficit to tie the game. Kills from fourth-year middle-hitter Hannah Miller, second-year setter Cate DiGiacomo and first-year middle-hitter Lauren Abbot gave New Paltz the set win 26-24, and the game win 3-0.
After a day’s rest, it was time to take on Alfred state. The Pioneers dominated quickly, and despite solid performances from Bills, the Hawks were silenced to a 25-15 set one loss. Could New Paltz recover in set two?
Yes, six kills from Williams and many more Knights attack errors brought New Paltz to a set two victory, 25-14.
“I was very proud of our team’s performance,” Williams said. “I thought we all worked well together and can’t wait to see how much we are able to improve as we move through our season.”
Now time to shut down Alfred for good, New Paltz took the next two sets 25-23 and 25-20, respectively. Some highlights of those sets came from five team service aces and one individual one from fourth-year libero Nicole Cooke.
With one more game to go it seemed nothing could break the Hawks’ stride when it came time to face Russell Sage where New Paltz was celebrating their senior night. First-year middle hitter Letisha Perez did well, along with third-year Katie Steele. The two helped win set one 25-11.
After taking set two 25-13, the Hawks fell in set three. Several Hawk errors added to the Gator’s points, and although close Russell Sage took this one 26-24. It did not matter though, New Paltz came back strong and mighty. Perez and Steele came through with more kills for the team, and although the Gator’s had a mini comeback right at the end, the Hawks held their own when it mattered the most, winning the set 25-21, and the game 3-1.
Williams said it was a very fun weekend.
“For many of us, it was our first ever home game at New Paltz,” Williams said. “I think we were all very proud of our hard work and effort and are excited to continue to get better and improve throughout our season.”
Winning these games couldn’t have come at a better time. New Paltz has Montclair State University Tri-match approaching and they’ll want to keep their mojo for that. On Saturday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m., New Paltz will face Farmingdale State, and just a little after that at 5 p.m. they will take on Montclair.
“As we move forward, I expect us to continue to work hard and improve. It will be exciting to see what we are able to do as we all gain more experience,” Williams said.