Lutjen

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- On the strength of a season-best .578 (44-7-64) hitting percentage, No. 6 New Paltz (25-5) powered its way to a 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-18) victory against New Jersey City (17-13) on Tuesday at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.

New Paltz, which extended its winning streak to 10 matches, dominated in every phase of the contest. The Hawks held a .578-to-.088 advantage against the Gothic Knights in hitting percentage, and they also owned a 5-4 edge in blocks. New Paltz collected 23 digs to New Jersey City’s 12, and the Hawks floored eight service aces to the Gothic Knights’ one.

After the Gothic Knights scored the first two points in the first set, New Paltz went on a 4-0 tear and never trailed from that point out in the frame. Following a Hawk service error that made the score 15-10 in favor of New Paltz, the visitors scored seven of the next eight points and three service aces by sophomore setter John Lutjen pushed the score to 22-11. New Paltz registered three of the next five points to take the first set by a 25-13 score.

Once again, the Gothic Knights took an early lead, mounting a 2-1 cushion in the second set. New Paltz then seized the advantage for good in the stanza behind four consecutive kills, three of which came from setter/right side Christian Smith. New Jersey City was only able to score consecutive points twice in the second frame, and the Hawks came away as 25-14 victors.

A back-and-forth battle ensued during the first 18 points of the third set, and back-to-back Gothic Knight points made the score 10-8 in favor of New Paltz. A kill by outside hitter/setter Brian Smith followed by three New Jersey City attacking errors forced the home team to take a timeout with the score at 14-8. The Gothic Knights went on a run, scoring five of the next seven points, and a bad set by New Paltz drew New Jersey City within three at 16-13. Each team traded a kill before the Hawks rattled off three consecutive points. From that point forward, the Gothic Knights were unable to string together two points in a row, and the Hawks claimed the third set 25-18.

Lutjen paced New Paltz with a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage, flooring 11 kills in 11 total attempts. Lutjen and C. Smith each dished out 18 assists, while Lutjen added four service aces. Middle blocker/right side Brian O’Connor reinforced the front row defensively with three block assists, while freshman outside hitter Tim Ferriter recorded eight digs to contribute to the squad’s back row defense.