The Panzer Athletic Center hosted a volleyball matchup on Friday between two teams that seemed evenly skilled throughout the majority of the season so far. The 12-4 Montclair State Red Hawks took on the 12-4 Manhattanville College Valiants.
Manhattanville came into the contest having won their past 10-straight games. Many would have expected this to have been a tight game that had gone all five sets. It turned out that Montclair State would sweep Manhattanville in three sets.
Both teams would trade blows early on in the first set, with Montclair State holding a slim 5-4 lead. The Red Hawks would then start to pull away, going on a 10-2 run to make the score 16-6. After both teams traded blows, the score became 19-9. However, Manhattanville would not go down easy, as they went on a 9-3 run to pull the score to 22-18. Despite this, Montclair State closed it out, winning three of the next four plays to win the set 25-19.
Unlike the first set, Montclair State would dominate Manhattanville in the second set. After the Valiants went up 2-1 in the beginning of the set, the Red Hawks went on a 12-2 run, including a 8-0 stretch, making the score 14-4. Throughout the entire set, the Valiants would never score more than twice in a row. After a 3-3 stretch to make the score 17-7, the Red Hawks scored eight unanswered points, winning the set by a lopsided final of 25-7.
“I think lately we’ve been a little bit behind in some of the matches,” Eddie Stanwinski, Montclair State women’s volleyball head coach, said. “It’s been hard to kind of swing that two point lead. So a fast start is a plus for us and it was good to have that in three sets to have a comfortable lead.”
Montclair State kept the momentum rolling into the third set as well, going up 6-1 early in the set. However, Manhattanville would not go down without a fight, as they fought back to make the score 13-10.
Montclair State would then go on a 9-5 run to take a 22-15 lead. From that point on, the Valiants would perform a furious rally, going on a 6-2 run to make the score 24-21. That is the closest Manhattanville would come to winning a set in this one, as senior middle blocker Caitlin Lange got the final kill to win the set for Montclair State 25-21, and the match three sets to none.
Sophomore outside hitter Leah Higgins had a great night on the court, leading the Red Hawks with 12 kills and 13.5 points overall. Montclair State’s blocking was on point as well, as they dominated Manhattanville in the blocking category 11.5 to 1.5, with 10-whole blocks.
“We did scouting on them before and we knew that they were on the shorter side of the team,” Higgins said. “Our team is pretty big. We have over six big players and we just knew if we put our hands up, we’d get the ball down.”
With this victory, the Montclair State Red Hawks improve their record to 13-4 on the season.