By Amy Whitman
NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz Women’s Volleyball team faced off against nationally ranked Ithaca College but came up short against the Bombers in three sets, (23-25,16-25,14-25).
The Hawks played with grit in the first set. Coming back from an early deficit, they went on a seven-point run to take the lead from the Bombers at 8-7. Ithaca was forced to take a time-out when the score hit 12-8.
Coming off the time-out, SUNY New Paltz returned to its fierce style of play and extended its lead further. The Bombers were slowly chipping away at SUNY New Paltz’s advantage, however, and overtook the Hawks on the 22nd point. Ithaca won the set 25-23.
“Ithaca is a great team. We had opportunities to take the first set and either didn’t finish plays defensively or overplayed and it cost us key points to go up 1-0,” said SUNY New Paltz Coach Matt Giufre. “The next two sets Ithaca showed why they’re a top 25 team and really played a great match.”
In the second set, the Bombers came out with the same intensity they ended the first with, immediately forcing two straight ball-handling errors from the Hawks. They went on multiple runs within the set, and two errors on the Hawks side resulted in the Bombers winning the set 25-16. The third set ascertained the Bombers’ skills on the court, as they never let the Hawks score more than three points at a time and kept them under 10 points until the latter portion of the set. In the end Ithaca took the third 25-14 and were victorious in the match.
Despite the loss Friday, the Hawks are nowhere near finished. They resume the New Paltz Challenge Tournament Saturday against Manhattanville and Williams before jumping into SUNYAC play Sept. 29, traveling to face the Fredonia Blue Devils. The following day they will head to Buffalo to compete against the Buffalo State Bengals, another conference competitor.
“We have two more strong opponents tomorrow to learn to play each point fearlessly and with urgency before getting into conference play,” commented Giufre. “We have a ton of talent and I firmly believe our best volleyball remains ahead of us.”