New Paltz Athletics

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – After a convincing first-set win, the No. 15 State University of New York at New Paltz men’s volleyball team (4-5, 1-3 UVC) found itself on the defensive. Vassar College (5-4, 2-1 UVC) solved its offensive problems in the second, third and fourth sets and knocked off the Hawks in a United Volleyball Conference (UVC) match Wednesday evening in the Hawk Center by a count of 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-22).

Down 8-6 in the first set, New Paltz rattled off four consecutive points to shift the momentum and the score in its favor. The Hawks did not trail from that point forward, and a service ace from junior middle blocker Kevin Stross punctuated a 25-18 first-set victory.

The Hawks hung with the Brewers for the first 10 points of the second game, but Vassar scored three points in a row off of three consecutive New Paltz attack errors. The Hawks would hang around, though, and Evan Fredericksen’s attack error late in the frame knotted the tally at 23-all. After Vassar called a timeout, Fredericksen landed a kill and assisted on a block with Patrick Donohue to tie the match score at 1.

Another battle ensued for the first half of the third set, but the Brewers scored five consecutive points to go up 20-15. New Paltz could not muster consecutive points the rest of the way in that game, and Vassar scored with an easy victory in the set.

New Paltz set the tone early in the fourth, and a kill by freshman middle blocker/opposite Brian O’Connor put the Hawks on top, 14-11. The Brewers leveled the score with two kills and a service ace, and the two teams see-sawed back and forth with the advantage until the score was knotted at 21-all. Charles Caldwell connected on a service ace to give Vassar a 22-21 lead, and a New Paltz attack error stretched the Brewer cushion to two. After a Hawk timeout, freshman setter Brian Smithmisfired on an attack but brought the serve back to the home team with a kill off a set by senior setter Andrew Cassius. A service error, however, doomed the blue and orange, and Vassar closed out the victory.

Neither team hit particularly well, with Vassar (.246) slightly outhitting New Paltz (.183). The Hawks registered eight team blocks to the Brewers’ seven, and Vassar held the edge in digs, 52-50.

Senior outside hitter Keith MacDonald led the Hawk attack with 12 kills and four errors in 29 swings, achieving a .276 hitting percentage. Junior opposite Mike Van Tyne also had a solid night offensively with 10 kills. Cassius handed out a team-high 34 assists, while junior defensive specialist/libero Frank Cicconeand Cassius shored up the defense with 13 and 12 digs, respectively. Van Dyke offered three block assists and paced the Hawks with 14.5 total points. Off the serve, Stross was hit-or-miss, tying for the match-high in both service aces (3) and service errors (4).

For Vassar, Fredericksen was impressive, registering a match-high 20 kills. Clifford Quinn and John Konow split setting duties, with Quinn dishing out a match-high 35 assists and Konow offering up 11. Christian La Du kept rallies alive on the back row with 18 digs, while Matthew Elgin reinforced the front row’s efforts with one block solo and five block assists.