New Paltz Athletics

NEW PALTZ – Strong offensive efforts in the first and fourth sets helped propel No. 15 State University of New York at New Paltz  (4-2, 1-0 UVC) to a 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21) victory against Bard College (4-4, 1-2 UVC) in New Paltz’s inaugural United Volleyball Conference (UVC) match Thursday evening in the Hawk Center.

The Hawks hit .250 on the match, which included hitting percentages of .355 and .303 in the first and fourth sets, respectively. While Bard hit .193 on the evening and topped the .200 mark in just one set, the Raptors attacked efficiently in the third set, assembling a .429 hitting percentage (10 kills and one error in 21 total attempts).

New Paltz never surrendered the lead in the first and second sets, taking a comfortable 2-0 lead into the third frame. The Raptors, however, prevailed in the third stanza, which saw seven ties and four lead changes.

The Hawks led 17-16 in the third set before Bard scored four unanswered points, which came behind the strength of Billy Williams’ two service aces. New Paltz responded with two consecutive points, but Nick Chan accounted for two of the Raptors’ three unanswered points that followed. Up 23-21, Bard used a kill from Chan and a block solo from Max Howard to close out the set and stay alive.

Both teams vied for the lead in the early goings of the fourth, but the Hawks gained a 14-10 advantage after slowly separating themselves from the Raptors. Bard called a timeout after an attack error that gave New Paltz a 19-15 edge, and junior middle blocker Kevin Stross gave the Hawks their largest lead of the frame when he landed a kill off of an over pass. Later on in the set, Howard’s kill brought the Raptors within two at 23-21, but junior opposite Mike Van Tyne and senior outside hitter Keith MacDonald landed back-to-back kills to put away Bard.

Stross paced the Hawks with 15 kills (.310 hitting percentage), three service aces and three total blocks (one solo, two assists), while junior defensive specialist/libero Frank Ciccone shored up the defense with a match-high 11 digs. Senior setter Andrew Cassius dished out a match-high 42 assists, while MacDonald enjoyed a strong all-around match with 12 kills, three service aces and eight digs.

For Bard, Chan floored a match-high 21 kills and hit at a .298 clip on the night. Henry Kasiske notched a double-double, boasting team-highs in assists (38) and digs (10). Ryan Fallon helped contribute to the team’s 10 total blocks, offering one block solo and five block assists.