The women’s volleyball team clinched their 13th consecutive playoff berth over the weekend in conference pool play.
In the process, the Hawks defeated SUNY Cortland 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 25-16) on Saturday, Oct. 22 to clinch the No. 3 seed for State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament.
The Hawks will host their quarterfinals matchup against SUNY Oswego on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Hawks previously defeated the Lakers earlier this season by a score of 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21) on Sept. 24.
Hawks head coach Matt Giufre will look to add a third SUNYAC tournament trophy to his repertoire. He led the team to conference titles in 2009 and 2014, both being 30 plus win seasons.
“You got to be in it to be able to win it,” Giufre said. “Our conference is getting tougher and some of the teams that you’d expect to beat back then are actually good now. We’ve seen a lot of close matches this year and a lot of evenly matched teams, so to be able to have a home playoff game is something we’re happy with.”
On Friday, Oct. 21, New Paltz defeated Buffalo State 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 25-15) in order to reach the SUNYAC Tournament. Fourth-year outside hitter Morgan Roessler led the attack with 17 kills on 36 swings while providing two solo blocks and three digs and third-year libero Veronica Matedero led the defense with 18 digs.
After the win against Buffalo State, the Hawks had a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the playoff tournament with a win against SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Oct. 22. New Paltz suffered a 3-1 loss (17-25, 25-18, 21-25, 18-25) in the match to go on for a battle for the third seed hours later.
“We were a little sloppy with our play and we have to clean that up,” Giufre said. “We have some film to do that and we’re gonna work in practice. I thought we did good stuff on offense, but our blocking and defense overall is not where we need it to be.”
The matchup against SUNY Cortland saw the Hawks enjoy a 19 kill performance from Roessler, hitting .378 on 37 attempts while fourth-year middle hitter Brittany Tyack floored 11 kills. Third-year setter Maddie Zwickl distributed a match-high 52 assists to go along with 15 digs.
Giufre noted that hosting the quarterfinals isn’t the biggest advantage for the team, but when it’s a “win or go home situation, it’s a matter of playing well.”
“When you don’t have to get on a bus and go somewhere it’s a nice feeling,” Giufre said. “If there’s any advantage, it’s the comforts of your own gym. Over the years, we’ve seen that your home crowd can work for you and sometimes it can intimidate you, which has happened to us as well.”
The Hawks also dropped a cross-river rivalry matchup against Vassar College 3-0 (20-25, 28-30, 23-25) on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The team will participate at the Skidmore Invitational on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 before participating in the SUNYAC Tournament.
“We’re going to practice for the tournament and play for the tournament,” Giufre said. “We’re focused on the matches because they’re important, but we’re also going to clean up on the things we need to in general, specifically defense and blocking. If we can do those things well, we can certainly beat the teams we’re playing this week.”