Watch Highlights Here | Post-Match Press Conference
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior Steven Woessner (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) led a trio of player with 10 or more kills, recording 18, as the fourth-ranked New Paltz men's volleyball team outlasted fifth-ranked Wentworth, 3-2, in an NCAA Division III Semifinal played at Springfield College's Blake Arena.
The win improves the defending national champion Hawks' record to 29-6 on the season and they will face the host Pride, a 3-0 winner over Stevens, in a re-match of last season's national championship match tomorrow afternoon at 4:00. The Leopards see their program-record win streak halted at 11 and their season ends at a program-best 28-7.
New Paltz took the first set 25-19 after hitting .370 as a team. Wentworth closed an early three-point deficit to one at 14-13 after a service error and a block from senior Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) and junior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.). The Leopards would be back within one at 15-14 after a service error, however a 6-1 run by the Hawks made it 21-15. Wentworth would get with four at 23-19 after a service error but New Paltz got consecutive kills from junior Nick Denoncourt (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior Anthony Bonilla (New Paltz, N.Y.) to close out the set. Wentworth had just four kills – two from junior Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.) – in the set but was helped by five attack errors and eight service errors by the Hawks.
Wentworth evened the match at a set apiece with a 25-21 win in the second set, a set which featured 12 ties and six lead changes. The Black & Gold hit .421 as a team, which included four kills from Mullen and three from Roat. Mullen also had three blocks in the set. Woessner went on a run behind the line to turn an 11-11 tie into a 15-11 New Paltz lead. However, junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) stepped to the service line at 15-12 and rolled off seven straight points to give Wentworth a 19-15 lead. The Leopards took a 23-18 lead on a Mullen kill before two straight Woessner kills made it 23-20. That would be as close as the Hawks would get as Mullen eventually finished off the set with a kill.
As close as the second set was, the third set featured 17 ties and three lead changes as the Leopards took a 2-1 lead with a 25-23 win. Wentworth hit a match-high .457 in the set and was paced by Mullen's five kills and classmate Jake Reed's (Arvada, Colo.) four. The teams went point-for-point in the frame until a Woessner kill and senior Jake Roessler (Massapequa, N.Y.) ace gave New Paltz a 14-12 lead. A kill from Reed and an ace from Mullen quickly tied the score at 14-all, and, with the Hawks holding an 18-17 advantage, Wentworth rolled off four straight points to take the lead for good at 21-18. New Paltz pulled within one on four occasions, including at 24-23, however Oshman had a solo block to end the set.
New Paltz kept the match alive with a 25-20 win in the fourth set, a set in which the Hawks held the Leopards to an attack percentage of .000. New Paltz took a 10-5 lead on a kill from senior C.J. Borfitz (Inwood, N.Y.). Wentworth drew back within one at 15-14 on a kill from Reed and again at 16-15. The Hawks extended their lead to 21-16 after an attack error and fended off a late charge by the Black & Gold which included a kill from senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) which made it 22-19. Reed had five kills on seven swings with just one error.
With a berth to the national championship match on the line, the teams traded points to open the deciding set before New Paltz, which hit .474 in the set, took a 9-6 lead on a block from Bonilla and Borfitz. Wentworth would come within two on a pair of occasions, including at 13-11 after a kill from Potts and again at 14-12 after a service error. However, Bonilla ended the match with a kill. Reed was a perfect 3-0-3 for the Leopards in the set.
Roessler had 14 kills, six digs, and hit .400 in the win while Bonilla added 13 kills, two aces, eight digs, and two blocks. Freshman Matthew Grace (Holbrook, N.Y.) had 53 assists and Borfitz finished with six kills and four blocks.
Reed closed out his career with a team-high 15 kills to go along with a pair of aces and an attack percentage of .464. Mullen wrapped up his career with 13 kills, six digs, and four blocks while Roat had 11 kills, five digs, and three blocks. Potts, the two-time All-American, had five kills and four blocks in his final match. Ritter had 43 assists which put him over the 3,000-assist mark for his career. Senior Mike Rogachefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) had 10 digs in his collegiate finale.
The five seniors on this year's team – Mike Hansen (Rochester, N.Y.), Potts, Reed, Rogachefsky, and Mullen – go out with a record of 101-33 (.754), an ECAC Championship, two Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championships, the program's first two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and the first appearance in the semifinals.
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Men's Volleyball Oulasted by New Paltz in NCAA Semifinals
Watch Highlights Here | Post-Match Press Conference