Women’s Volleyball Starts Year with 6-3 Record

Fourth-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo is currently second on the team in kills with 74 and in digs with 76. (Photo courtesy of SUNY Brockport athletics)

The women’s volleyball team finds themselves at 6-3 to start off the 2018 season.

The Hawks began their season with a four game split at the Emory Classic from Friday, Aug. 31 to Saturday, Sept. 1.

New Paltz was inconsistent in their first four games, as they dropped their first and third match 0-3 and 1-3 respectively while winning the second and fourth 3-1 and 3-2, respectively.

In their first win of the season against Covenant College, New Paltz fell behind early 4-0 in the first set. However, four consecutive points by the Hawks evened the score at four a piece. Consecutive attack errors by Hawks fourth-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo, followed by a kill by Covenant third-year outside hitter Hannah Harris, put the Hawks down 7-4 early.

A service error by Hawks third-year middle hitter Kerri Neville evened the score at twelve a piece. From then on, Covenant would not see the lead the rest of the match as the Hawks would go on to win by a final of 25-23 in the first set.

Covenant would go on to take the second set by a score of 25-23, but the Hawks came back with vengeance in the last two sets, winning each by scores of 25-22.

The Hawks second win of the season came on Sept. 1 against Maryville College.

The teams would split the first four sets, sending the match into a tie-breaking fifth set. New Paltz jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the final set, only to have Maryville answer back with five consecutive points of their own.

After a timeout by New Paltz, the Hawks fought back with three consecutive points, courtesy of second-year middle hitter Demi Herasme and Cimillo, respectively. From then on the Hawks would never relinquish the lead as they went on to win the set by a score of 15-11 and the match by a score of 3-2, wrapping up their first road series with a record of 2-2.

From then, the Hawks traveled back north to the friendly confines of the Hawk Center where they would play four games from Sept. 7-8.

“Honestly, our entire team came home from Emory excited and more motivated to find out what we truly are capable of,” said Hawks head coach Matt Giufre. “The leadership of the seniors and juniors has been as good as I’ve seen in all my years. They are making sure not a moment is missed to improve on some aspect of our play.”

New Paltz had a field day in their first home game of the season as they dominated all three sets against Alfred University by scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 25-15, respectively.

Later that same day, the Hawks took back to the hardwood to face off against St. Lawrence University. After a hard-fought opening set, where the Hawks came out victorious by a score of 29-27, New Paltz found their stride winning the last two sets by scores of 25-20.

Their third home victory, however, was their most dominant thus far, giving up only 43 points over three sets to Mount Saint Mary College.

Jumping out to an early 8-0 lead, thanks to kills by second-year outside hitter Julie Greenspan and first-year middle hitter Shannon Thomas, the Hawks pulled away fast increasing their lead to the eventual final score of 25-10. Unfortunately, for Mount Saint Mary, they saw much of the same from the Hawks in the second set as they went on to win big again by a score of 25-13, and eventually the match by a score of 3-0.

New Paltz wrapped up their homecoming with a nail-biter against Hamilton College on Sept. 8.

In set one, New Paltz jumped out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of back-to-back kills by Greenspan and Cimillo. Hamilton would battle back, however, as a kill by Hamilton fourth-year middle blocker Claire Kitz evened the score at five.

After a three point streak made it 10-6 in favor of Hamilton, New Paltz battled back to take the lead thanks to back-to-back kills by Cimillo giving the Hawks the 16-15 advantage. The seesaw game would eventually come to an end with a kill by Kitz, giving Hamilton the 26-24 victory in set one.

In the second set, the Hawks fell yet again by the same score, finding themselves one set away from defeat.

With their backs to the wall, the Hawks took it to another level. They dominated for much of this set, extending their lead to 23-13 at one point. However, nine consecutive points by Hamilton brought them to within one. Hamilton would eventually even the score at 24 before back-to-back points by the Hawks sent the series to a game four.

After another back and forth start, the Hawks pulled away late in the game, winning by a score of 25-20, and sending the series to sudden death.

In the fifth set, both teams came out strong. The score stood at 10 a piece before three consecutive points by Hamilton. However as New Paltz has shown us thus far this season, they refused to back down. They finished off the game scoring five of the last six points, winning the set 16-14 and the match by a score of 3-2.

“I believe our mindset played a huge role in our four victories this weekend. Saturday, at Emory College, we saw and heard in person what it takes to be a championship level team,” said third-year outside hitter Madison Van Pelt.

The Hawks will look to continue this hot streak at the Ramapo Tournament this Friday, Sept. 14.

“In order to be successful we need to focus on our controllables and not rely on our opponents to earn our points for us,” Cimillo said. “If we want to achieve any of the goals that we had set for ourselves this season, we must first pick our teammates up when they are down, and have trust in one another to do their job.”