After pulling out a 3-1 win over Williams College on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at home, the women’s volleyball team has now won five of their last seven games.
The real test, however, will be this weekend at the SUNYAC Pool Play in Oneonta with sets against the host Red Dragons, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Fredonia.
“There is a lot of urgency and excitement in these matches,” said Hawks head coach Matt Giufre. “Fredonia is only one spot ahead of us and Oswego and Oneonta are right behind us.
“We need to seek out consistency. Consistency of play and consistency of communication. If we can do that, we will be successful. If not, we are going to experience some rough waters.”
At the SUNYAC Pool Play at Geneseo Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, the Hawks took two games of three, including an exciting set against Cortland.
After beating Buffalo State 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 25-11), the Hawks fought hard to beat Cortland 3-2 (25-20, 14-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-11).
The Hawks and the Red Dragons matched each other tit-for-tat halfway through the first, until the former went up 16-10 and never looked back.
New Paltz dropped the second set but controlled the third. In the fourth, the Hawks dropped a close one going into the decisive fifth set, but didn’t stand down and took away an emotional victory. Giufre commended the team’s composure and poise that helped secure a victory against Cortland, but they need to play better later in games and finish.
The Hawks dropped the weekend finale against Brockport 3-0 (17-25, 12-25, 16-25).
“To come back from a deficit was definitely our biggest character match win of the season,” Giufre said. “It was tough to play Brockport after, but now, our team needs to compete in crunch time.”
Against Cortland, Hawks third-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo led the charge with 18 kills while racking up 15 kills. Second-year middle hitter Kerri Neville had nine kills and four blocks and first-year outside hitter Julie Greenspan had eight kills.
Fourth-year libero Veronica Matedero had four service aces and 22 digs, while fourth-year setter Maddie Zwickl led the charge in the assists department with 39.
Giufre praised his seniors Matedero and Zwickl for their high level of play this season.
“They have been mainstays all year. Top level of play day in and day out,” he said. “Without the seniors, we would not still be in the hunt for a high seed.”
The Hawks next hosted Bard College on Friday, Oct. 13, coming away with a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-16, 25-17).
New Paltz outmatched Bard in kills (32-19), service aces (10-6), blocks (7-3), assists (30-19) and digs (38-33).
Greenspan had eight kills, followed by Cimillo who had seven and second-year outside hitter Maddie Van Pelt who logged four.
Cimillo also chipped in two blocks, two assists and eight digs, while Maddie Zwickl registered 22 assists.
On Saturday, Oct. 14 against Hunter College in Annandale-on-Hudson, the Hawks dropped a tough game 3-1 (21-25, 25-13, 23-25, 27-29), but rebounded later that day to beat Mount Holyoke College 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 26-24, 25-19).
New Paltz bested Mount Holyoke in kills (49-37) service aces (12-4), assists (48-35) and digs (85-70).
Van Pelt had 14 kills and three service aces to go along with two blocks and 16 digs, while Greenspan had 10 kills and third-year libero Meredith Dignan had five service aces, three assists and 15 digs.
Veronica Matadero finished the game with 29 digs while first-year setter Caleigh Carr logged 30 assists.
The Hawks have a tall task ahead of them with the aforementioned Pool Play at Oneonta. However, Coach Giufre remains optimistic.
“Hopefully after this weekend we will have a seed for the tournament,” Giufre said. “We need to maintain. It’s there for the taking and we are not far away. We are close to being an upper echelon team and we want to be there. It’s right at the doorstep.”