The women’s volleyball team fell to 5-4 after a 3-1 (18-25, 25-15, 25-11, 25-19) loss to Stevens Institute of Technology on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
After capturing the first set, the Hawks were unable to take another on the road against the Ducks.
Third-year outside hitter Taylor Cimillo led the team in kills for the eighth-straight game with nine, while second-year outside hitter Maddie Van Pelt was second with eight. Fourth-year setter Maddie Zwickl recorded 29 assists, while fourth-year libero Veronica Matedero and third-year libero Meredith Dignan each tallied 13 digs.
Over the weekend, New Paltz hosted the Hawks Invite and went 3-1 over the course of two days.
“It was huge winning three of the four matches we played last weekend,” Cimillo said. “A lot of people came out to watch the matches and it was important that we could prove ourselves in our own gym against some good competition.”
The Hawks began the weekend by defeating The Sage Colleges 3-1 (25-9, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17) on Friday, Sept. 8.
Cimillo led the offense with 16 kills and tallied a .419 hitting percentage (16-3-31), while second-year middle hitter Kerri Neville recorded 11 kills. Zwickl dished out 46 assists and Matedero defended 13 digs. Dignan contributed 10 digs and first-year setter Carleigh Carr registered five service aces.
Later that afternoon the team won its second game of the day beating Montclair State University 3-1 (25-9, 25-22, 22-25, 27-25).
New Paltz easily took the first two sets and held a 21-16 advantage in the third set. The Red Hawks caught up to make it 22-19 and then finished the set on a 6-0 run to make it a 2-1 match.
Things looked grim for the Hawks in the fourth set when Montclair held a 19-15 advantage. But New Paltz went on a 6-0 run, including three kills from Van Pelt, to go ahead 21-19.
The two teams were eventually tied 23-all, but a kill from Red Hawks third-year right side Natalia Majkut put the game one point away from a fifth set. The Hawks kept the set alive thanks to an unusual kill from the setter Zwickl. An attacking error by New Paltz gave Montclair a 25-24 lead, but a kill from Cimillo, an attacking error by the Red Hawks and a match-clinching kill from Van Pelt won the Hawks the fourth set 27-25.
“Overall I am proud of the way we played all weekend, but I am especially proud of the way we fought back in the fourth set against Montclair,” Van Pelt said.
Van Pelt and Cimillo led the team with 15 kills each, while first-year outside hitter Emma Hines contributed 13 kills.
The following day the team won its fourth-straight game, defeating Mount Saint Mary College 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 26-24).
Similar to the Montclair game, the Hawks handily took the first two sets before running into some trouble in the third set. New Paltz led 14-7 but the Knights went on a 9-1 run to take a 16-15 lead. The Hawks bounced back to take a 21-18 lead, but Mount Saint Mary mounted another comeback and the set was eventually tied 24-all. But a kill by Cimillo and a service ace from Zwickl won New Paltz the set and the match.
The team concluded the weekend losing to Stockton University 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-19). Cimillo led the Hawks in kills with nine. Zwickl dished out 28 assists and Matedero notched eight digs.
“One thing Stockton really showed us was our inability to block,” Hawks head coach Matt Giufre said. “That’s something we haven’t really spent any time on because of other needs. This week that has been a big focus for us to get a system in place on how to block more effectively.”
Cimillo echoed her coach’s thoughts that there are still some things, such as blocking, the team needs to improve upon before State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play begins.
“There are some mechanical things we need to improve on before conference play like blocking and defense,” she said. “Overall we need to work on consistency throughout the whole match by preventing dips in our energy levels. It’s important to take each point one at a time in volleyball and we need to focus more on not getting inside of our own heads, myself especially.”
The Hawks will have one final tune up before conference play starts when they compete in the Ithaca Tournament this weekend from Friday, Sept. 15 to Saturday, Sept. 16.