New Paltz Sports Information Department
Providence, RI -- The State University of New York at New Paltz women's volleyball team has moved onto the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament, defeating Franklin and Marshall College, 3-0 (25-20, 28-26, 25-22) Friday.
Earning its ninth NCAA tournament win in program history, SUNY New Paltz will move on and face hosting Johnson and Wales University, which swept Eastern Connecticut State Friday.
"It's the NCAA tournament," said Hawks coach Matt Giufre. "It's not supposed to be easy, but it is a lot of fun. A big part was just settling [the team] down, and reminding them to enjoy the moment."
Beginning the match between two even teams, junior outside hitter Madison Van Pelt got SUNY New Paltz going, coming out early with three kills to take a 3-0 lead. The Diplomats answered quickly with four points of their own to take the lead back, 4-3.
With the Hawks down 10-7, a 5-0 run gave them back the lead, 12-10, forcing a Franklin and Marshall timeout. A close set throughout, featuring eight ties, Giufre was forced to use his first timeout after giving the Diplomats back the lead, 19-18.
His message was heard, as another 6-0 run by the Hawks gave them full possession of the set, 24-19. A kill by junior middle hitter Kerri Neville sealed the set, 25-20, allowing SUNY New Paltz to take a 1-0 advantage.
Although the Hawks never fell behind by more than four throughout the set, SUNY New Paltz gained their first lead of the second at 20-19, off a senior setter Meredith Dignan kill. It was part of a five unanswered point run that pushed the Hawks in front, 22-19.
A kill by Van Pelt sent SUNY New Paltz on top 24-21, but Franklin and Marshall College would not go down easy, as it proceeded to score three unanswered points of their own to tie the set at 24. With the Hawks not falling either, a kill by senior outside hitter Taylor Cimillo gave them the lead, 25-24. However, once again the Diplomats came back, taking a lead of their own at 26-25.
Giufre called a timeout and just like earlier SUNY New Paltz took advantage following the huddle. A kill by Neville sparked a 3-0 run to take the set, 28-26, and the lead in the match, 2-0.
"Mainly in those timeouts, we reviewed our defensive plan," Giufre said. "From an emotional side, I just kept reminding them to embrace the game."
The Hawks and Franklin and Marshall College took multiple shots at each other early in the set, tying the score seven times before its 12-all stalemate. A kill by the Diplomats pushed them ahead and forced SUNY New Paltz to trail for a large amount of the rest of the set.
With Franklin and Marshall up, 22-20, a kill by Van Pelt was the answer the Hawks needed. They piled on with a 5-0 run, which allowed SUNY New Paltz to take the set, 25-22 and the match, 3-0.
The Hawks return to action Saturday at 5 p.m. in Providence, RI against Johnson and Wales University.
"Our defensive effort has improved a lot, and tonight it really paid off," Giufre said. "They are doing everything possible to keep the season going, and that pure joy can really push a team through tough moments."