They’re back and seeking redemption.
The New Paltz Women’s Volleyball team has cemented itself as the No. 2 Seed in the East Division for the 2011 SUNYAC Tournament. After compiling a conference record of 6-2 and an overall of 24-10, New Paltz will go up against SUNYAC rival and the Western Division No. 3 seed SUNY Geneseo.
Head Coach Matt Giufre said that he and his team are excited and ready to take on their upcoming competition.
“I feel good about the team’s chemistry in practice and on the court,” said Giufre. “The keys to success during the tournament are playing together, playing one point at a time, and enjoying the moment.”
The Hawks reached the SUNYAC finals last year, before falling to rival and 2011 Tournament host SUNY Cortland. Cortland received the top seed in the Eastern Division and have the conference-best record of 8-0, with an overall record of 37-1.
“The team has put in a tremendous effort this year and over the last month so all you can do is embrace the challenge and enjoy the journey,” said Giufre.
The coach is not the only one that is excited about the Lady Hawks upcoming tournaments. Fourth-year captain and outside hitter Melinda DiGiovanna has been preparing for this tournament for the past couple of weeks.
“[We’ve been] focusing on practicing hard these past couple of weeks and working on individual skills has really helped them secure the wins needed,” said DiGiovanna.
DiGiovanna also said how excited her fellow teammates are for the post-season and their first match in the post-season against SUNY Geneseo. She said that the team this year is bringing a higher level of experience compared to last year’s team.
“Young players know what to expect and can go into the game with a bit of confidence,” DiGiovanna said.
The chemistry between the three captains is present as well. Fourth-year right side Captain Tara Annunziata emphasized the same idea of confidence and increased from last year.
“We cannot go in scared,” said Annunziata. “We had many freshmen last year starting. Now everyone starting has had experience, and anyone is ready to go in at anytime off the bench.”
The team is taking it one step at a time and focusing on what is in front of them as of now. The tournament is the team’s main focus as of now and then “we’re going for it all” said fourth-year setter and captain Kelsey Garmendia.
The players said their strong mentality and teamwork is what brought them this far in the competition, and that shows no reason why the Lady Hawks should not be the No.2 seed in the SUNYAC Tournament.
DiGiovanna, Annunziata and Garmendia said theyall want that championship trophy as the icing on their senior cake, but their main focus is taking it one game at a time. If all goes well they know that they will have their cake and eat it too.