The Montclair State University women’s volleyball team came into their most recent match against William Paterson University with a record of nine wins and 10 losses. With only a third of the season’s games remaining, the Red Hawks desperately needed a win.
They would get their win in dominant fashion beating William Paterson three sets to zero. This was Montclair State’s 12th straight win against William Paterson, dating all the way back to October of 2011.
A key factor in Montclair State’s dominant win was their play up front. The Red Hawks had the advantage in kills at 43-35 and out-blocked them four to two. They controlled the area close to the net and hammered the opposition relentlessly with powerful kills. Head coach Eddie Stawinski spoke on the importance of success up front.
“Our scouting report told us everything we needed to do in terms of blocking,” Stawinski said. “We prepared for a matchup we wanted, and we had it on all three sets and I think that’s what gave us momentum, is matching up some of their hitters against our blockers and vice versa. So we found success there.”
The first set saw Montclair State fall behind early, trailing William Paterson 5-1. The Red Hawks would soon settle down and begin to execute their game plan, coming back from the deficit and taking a commanding lead of 16-8. The Pioneers would battle back, but Montclair State would hold them off, winning the set 25-19.
The second set would see a more even start as the two teams settled into their game plans. Montclair State led early by a score of 7-6 but would soon go on a mid-game run that extended their lead to six and put the overall score at 15-9, and then eventually a commanding 12-point lead of 22-10. The set would end 25-17 in favor of the Red Hawks.
Montclair State’s effort and energy were crucial in set two. Stawinski spoke on the team’s attempt to display more effort.
“It’s something we’ve been addressing throughout the season,” Stawinski said. “ I think there are times that we lose focus and lose our composure. And we then tend to make uncharacteristic mistakes, and I think that’s one of the things where we talk about effort and playing hard throughout the match then those mistakes won’t happen.”
The third and final set would be the most competitive, and perhaps the most informing about this Montclair State team. The Red Hawks found themselves facing major adversity when they began the set trailing 8-2. They didn’t give up, however, and battled back to make the score a more manageable 9-11. Their ability to battle back and not give up may be just the thing they need with the season nearing its end.
The third set was a grind, but the Red Hawks would eventually take it by a score of 25-20, sweeping all three sets. Graduate student outside hitter Carly Waterman had a standout performance. She scored 10 kills and added two assists as well. She spoke on the importance of the game, and the energy the team brought.
“Tonight we all knew that it was an important game to win,” Waterman said. “So this kept us hopefully in the playoffs. So we knew we had to give it everything if we wanted to keep going with this season. So I’m really happy with how everyone performed.”
This extended Montclair State’s run on William Paterson to 12 straight wins and put the Red Hawks at a 10-10 record. It also moved the Red Hawks into fifth place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) standings.
When asked if the win against William Paterson can be a key building block of the season and spark a late-season run, Stawinski answered with a simple “absolutely.”