By Monica D’Ippolito
MONTCLAIR, NJ – The State University of New York at New Paltz concluded its regular season schedule Saturday with a split of its doubleheader at the Montclair Tri-Match, defeating the hosting Red Hawks in four sets (25-13, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17) before falling to DeSales, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-16).
The Hawks (20-7 overall) opened up the afternoon against hosting Montclair and got off to a hot start, winning the first set, 25-13 with their largest lead of 13 at 21-8. SUNY New Paltz held set point at 24-12 following a service error before officially taking a 1-0 lead two points later on a kill by Samantha Cox.
The Red Hawks tied the match at a set apiece after winning the second, 25-21, but the visiting Hawks anchored down with back-to-back wins to secure the victory.
Overcoming a 7-3 deficit to start the third, SUNY New Paltz took the lead at 11-10 on a kill by Mackenzie Williams off an assist from Cate DiGiacomo. From there, the Hawks scored 11 of the next 15 points to take a commanding, 22-15 lead which was highlighted by a 5-0 run that was capped with a kill by Letisha Perez from DiGiacomo. Montclair got as close as 22-19, but DiGiacomo went back to Perez to stall momentum and ultimately, Williams helped seal the 2-1 lead on back-to-back kills.
The Red Hawks won the first two points to start the fourth set, but from there the Hawks worked back and never trailed in the final stanza. A four-point run allowed them to go up, 18-11 with Williams serving through the stretch and capping the run with an ace. Perez got SUNY New Paltz to match point with a kill off another assist from DiGiacomo with Williams putting an end to the game with her 18th kill of the match off DiGiacomo’s team-leading 45th assist.
To go along with her team-leading kills, Williams added an assist a game-high three aces with two blocks and 16 digs for a team-leading 22 points in the match. Jamie Albrecht followed with 12 digs, one assist, two blocks and six digs. Perez also finished in double-digit kills, registering 10 with an ace and two blocks. Cox finished with eight kills and a game and career-high 18 digs.
The Hawks dropped their following match but gave their typical starters a rest with Dana Collins, Mirella Valluzzi, Christine Balbona, Victoria Venus, Kim Braun, Emma Mahoney and Lola Konopa getting extended time on the floor against the Bulldogs.
Valluzzi led the Hawks with nine kills, followed by Venus with six to go along with one block. Cox added four kills with an ace, a block and 10 digs. Melanie Podstupka registered a team-high 14 digs, while Collins totaled a game-high 24 assists.
SUNY New Paltz season resumes this weekend as it enters SUNYAC play starting with the conference semifinal round Nov. 10 against the winner of Geneseo and Plattsburgh on the campus of SUNY Cortland. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.