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NCAA.com | February 22, 2014

Preview: New Paltz State takes school's first No. 1 ranking into week

For the first time in the history of athletics at New Paltz State, the Hawks have a No. 1 nationally ranked team. The New Paltz men's volleyball team earned that distinction on Tuesday, as it received 195 total points and all 13 first-place votes to pick up the No. 1 ranking in the week four edition of the American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll.

The Hawks captured the top spot by defeating then-No. 1 Rivier and then-No. 2 Springfield on Friday at the Springfield Invitational. The Hawks beat both in straight sets, marking the first time in nearly a decade that two-time defending national champion Springfield lost to an NCAA Division III team in straight sets on its home floor.

New Paltz captured the Springfield Invitational title on Saturday, beating Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 3-0 and Bard 3-1.

Rivier fell back to No. 2 with 181 total points, while Juniata remained at No. 3 with 164 total points. Springfield, which suffered losses to both New Paltz and Rivier last week, dropped to No. 4 (155 total points). Nazareth stayed at No. 5 with 135 total points to round out the poll's top-five teams.

New Paltz (15-1, 5-0 UVC), which is riding an eight-match winning streak, looks to be the first top-ranked team this year to hold onto its ranking for more than one week, as the Hawks host No. 12 Stevens Institute on Wednesday in a UVC match before entertaining non-conference Cairn on Friday.

Notes from the rest of the top 10:
Rivier and Nazareth will be at an invitational hosted by No. 7 Baruch this weekend, which will also feature No. 12 Stevens Institute, No. T14 Stevenson, Kean and Emmanuel. ... Third-ranked Juniata will hoost the CVC and Tri-Match Weekend. ... Springfield will face off with No. 6 UC Santa Cruz on Friday at the Hall of Fame Classic, after the Banana Slugs are at top-10 newcomer MIT on Thursday. ... No. 8 Lakeland's lone game will be at home to Milwaukee Engineering on Friday. ... Ninth-ranked Carthage will play at Cardinal Stritch on Thursday.

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