Montclair State University volleyball had their second tri-match of the season at the Panzer Athletic Center against Mount St. Mary College and Brooklyn College, and it did not disappoint.
The Red Hawks were trying to get back on track and start Oct. off with a bang after a 1-7 run in their last eight matches and sitting at 5-8 before Saturday. They looked to sweep both teams just like they did in their previous tri-match against Wilkes University and Baruch College.
They began their day with help from graduate student outside hitter Leah Higgins’ four kills and two aces. After a 7-0 point run, they easily took the first set, winning 25-13. In the second set, after they took a 2-1 lead, they never looked back, finishing with a 25-16 victory. The Red Hawks didn’t even give the Knights a chance after opening the third set with a 6-0 run.
With some intense defense and relentless offense, the Red Hawks won the third set 25-7, completing the sweep of Mount St. Mary. Junior middle blocker Elizabeth Killeen had a game to remember with a career-high eight kills and just one error. The Red Hawks had a .433 hitting percentage and held Mount St. Mary to zero percent. This is Montclair State’s best hitting percentage of the year.
Freshman middle blocker Mia Capriglione and freshman setter Emily Carcich contributed to the win against Mount St. Mary. Carcich and Capriglione had to transition quickly to the Red Hawk playstyle.
“It’s a lot quicker as a setter,” Carcich said. “I’m used to running a slower ball, but the coaching has helped me a lot and it’s been a lot of fun playing.”
Capriglione mentioned how physical differences can make an impact on one’s game.
“You are playing against girls a lot taller than you, and they have more experience, so it’s a little different,” Capriglione said.
Though the difference didn’t seem to hurt Capriglione as she tallied six kills, six digs and five blocks in the win over Mount St. Mary.
The Brooklyn Bulldogs would be the next match for the Red Hawks later that afternoon with a bit of a later start due to their bus breaking down on the way to Montclair State. The Bulldogs swept Mount St. Mary and hoped for the same result against Montclair State.
The first set was back and forth to begin, but Montclair State would break away, taking a 19-11 lead. Brooklyn wouldn’t back down though, and they would go on a nine-point run and a 13-1 run, taking a 22-20 lead. Head coach Eddie Stawinski would call a timeout to get his team to regroup and focus. Coming out of the timeout, the Red Hawks showed Brooklyn what determination looks like.
They would come back and win the set 26-24 with a service ace from Higgins. The second set would be just as intense—a close set. Montclair State and Brooklyn went back and forth again, and the Red Hawks would edge out this 25-23 win.
Carcich and Capriglione know how important having your head in the game can be when losing a lead.
“We have our team talks,” Capriglione said. “We try to boost each other’s confidence up a bit.”
Carcich added on to say how the team’s mindset can determine the results of a game.
“When our energy is high, we can accomplish anything,” Carcich said.
Montclair State took the first 13 out of 17 and would win the final set 25-14, completing yet another sweep and replicating their last tri-match with six sets and six wins.
Brooklyn and Mount St. Mary were two differently skilled teams, so Carcich recognized the mindset heading into the day.
“Play our game and not go down to anyone else’s level, and then when we do have a better team that we have to make sure we are still staying up and playing the best way we can,” Carcich said.
Montclair State stays focused as they sit at 7-8 and are on the verge of the .500 mark.