By James O’Neill
SARATOGA SPRINGSs – For only the third time this season, the State University of New York at New Paltz women’s volleyball team did not complete a weekend sweep, losing twice Saturday in day two of the Skidmore College Invite to Morrisville State College and Skidmore College, 3-2 (29-25, 9-25, 25-17, 29-27, 16-18) and 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 10-25, 15-25), respectively.
The two losses end the Hawks regular season with a 24-8 record. SUNY New Paltz will now look forward to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament, where it holds the second seed at 8-1 in conference play.
Allowing Morrisville State to gain a 5-0 lead in the first set, The Hawks never found a way to take back the lead. Falling behind 17-9, a junior middle hitter Kerri Neville kill finally got SUNY New Paltz’s offense going, sparking a 9-2 run to come within two at 19-17. It was not enough, as the Mustangs answered with a 6-2 run of their own to take the set, 25-19.
Morrisville State’s offense was ruthless in the second set, scoring with ease to gain a 21-3 advantage. The Hawks did not back down, going on a 6-1 run themselves, but the Mustang’s effort was too much. Morrisville State won the set, 25-9, fully putting momentum on its side up 2-0.
SUNY New Paltz was not ready to go down in straight sets, and came out in the third with a 10-0 run capped off with two kills by sophomore outside hitter Julie Greenspan and one by sophomore middle hitter Demi Herasme. Boosting their lead to 22-10, the Mustangs made a come-back to cut the gap to six, but the Hawks prevailed and took the set, 25-17.
The fourth set was back-and-forth, featuring 19 ties throughout, as both teams never fell behind by more than two. Tied at 27, a block by both Herasme and Greenspan, and a senior outside hitter Taylor Cimillo kill, put SUNY New Paltz back in the game, tying the match at two.
Trying to keep its composure, Morrisville State took the first jab in the fifth set, gaining a 4-0 lead. A timeout by the Hawks proved vital, as a Cimillo kill started a six unanswered-point run for SUNY New Paltz, coming back at 6-4.
Neither team fell behind by as many as two in another back-and-forth set. The Hawks went up 15-14 in the fourth after a Cimillo kill, but the Mustangs fought to gain the lead back at 16-15. A service error tied the score at 16, but Morrisville State’s effort was greater, as an attack error by SUNY New Paltz and a kill gave the Mustang’s the set, 18-16, and the win in a tight match.
Falling down early again in the second set against Skidmore College, the Thoroughbreds came out with a 6-2 lead in the first. When the Hawks came back to tie the set twice at seven and at 10, Skidmore College answered with 7-0 run, taking the lead, 17-10.
A 6-1 run got SUNY New Paltz within four at 22-18, but the streak was quickly shot down by the Thoroughbreds, as they took a 1-0 lead after winning the set, 25-19.
Bouncing back, a kill by junior outside hitter Madison Van Pelt pushed the Hawks lead out to 7-2 in the second. When Skidmore College tied the set at seven, SUNY New Paltz continued to score with vigor, never giving up the lead again to play its best set of the match. The Hawks tied the game at one, with a 25-17 set win.
The loss ignited Thoroughbreds, as they thoroughly scored against SUNY New Paltz in the third set. Skidmore College won the set, 25-10 and took a 2-1 lead over the Hawks.
SUNY New Paltz could not come back from the tough set loss, falling down to the Thoroughbreds 9-4 to start the fourth. A 9-1 run by Skidmore College boosted the home team ahead to 19-9, and was enough to put the match away. The Thoroughbreds won the set, 25-15, and the match, 3-1.
Racking up 87 assists throughout the tournament, senior setter Meredith Dignan was named to the All-Tournament team for the weekend.
The Hawks will begin their postseason run Nov. 2, when they face the winner of the first round match between SUNY Oswego and The College at Brockport.