College of Saint Elizabeth vs. Montclair State
In a tightly contested match this past Saturday, the Eagles of CSE fell to the Hawks of Montclair State 3-1 (15-25, 25-21, 21-25 and 17-25).
The Eagles had a 9-6 lead early on and the team serve receive and transition offense seemed to be quite productive. The only negative was the serving game that had yielded two errors. But just as the Eagles seemingly had control of the set, the Hawks went on a 5-0 run that saw CSE give up three straight aces. Although the team settled down and stayed within striking distance at 11-13, the Eagles continued to sputter and after a blocking error and a couple of more service errors, CSE found themselves in a 22-15 hole. The team could not find their game again and ended the set giving up two more aces and adding yet another attacking error.
The Eagles regrouped for set two as both teams traded points not being able to string anything together. The Eagles however were not committing any of the passing and serving errors as in set one which led them to a 12-12 score midway through the match. CSE then went on a 5-0 run thanks to serving of Jenae Goodson (two aces) that kept the Hawks out of system and incapable of getting any good attacks. The Eagles kept the pressure on for the rest of the set, holding on to their 4-5 point lead. The Eagle offense was outstanding down the stretch hitting for four kills in crucial points to take the set 25-21.
The third set saw the Hawks holding a slight lead early on (8-6) that the Eagles could not seem to break through well into the middle part of the match (14-12). At 15-13 though, the first of a few controversial calls in the set threw the Eagles into a tailspin. After an attack by Chanice Sears that the down ref saw as having been touched by the Hawks before going out of bounds, the up ref overruled the call and gave the ball back to the Hawks. The Hawks took advantage of their second opportunity and scored three more times to extend their lead to 19-14 before it was over. With their backs against the wall, the Eagles kept trying to fight back and but key attack errors all but sealed their fate in the set as they trailed the Hawks 23-18 late in the set. The Eagles went on a 3-1 run that saw CSE get to within three at 24-21 and, with the ball in their hands, Sears' seemingly successful second attack of the set was called back by the officials.
The Eagles could not recover emotionally from the third set loss and were too over-aggressive early on which led to a quick, early lead for the Hawks at 4-1. The Eagles settled down but were unable to cut the deficit and actually saw the Hawks extend the lead to 11-4 thanks to four more unforced errors by the Eagles. CSE cleaned up their act in the middle stages of the match and went on a 6-4 run that had them within four at 14-10 but a few points later, three consecutive hitting errors pushed the lead up to eight at 19-11 and the writing was on the wall. CSE, to its credit, refused to give up and went on 6-2 run that saw the Eagles get within 4 at 21-17 but another service error broke the momentum and led to a 4-0 run by the Hawks that featured another two hitting errors by the Eagles.
Although the Eagles hit for 10 kills in the set, they also had a match high eight errors which made it the least efficient set of the match for the team. In contrast, the Hawks had only eight kills but gave up only four errors.
Saint Elizabeth vs. Hunter College
St. Elizabeth took on an experienced Hunter College in their last match of the day on Saturday at Montclair State University looking for the win that would bring them back to .500.
The Eagles started out as a team confident that they could play with the experienced Hawks team as they took an early 4-1 lead. The Hawks size and speed began to take a toll on the Eagles' offense and soon the scored as knotted up at five and a bit later Hunter had opened a 10-7 lead.
The Eagles relied yet again on their serving game and their blocking presence to force the Hawks into some uncommon mistakes that fueled a 5-0 run by the Eagles that had the score tied 13. Hunter took a timeout and it seemed to settle the team as the Hawks proceeded to go on a 12-2 run to close out the set. The usually reliable and accurate passing game deserted the Eagles and the Hunter attack did the rest in a 25-15 set one win.
The second set saw a much more lethal Hunter team take the court as they pressured the Eagles early with their serving game and were simply brutally efficient in offense in opening a 10-4 lead. The Eagles tried to respond but could not break the stranglehold the Hawks had in the set as Hunter would not concede any more than two points in a row to CSE. The Eagles were down 20-11 before Subhana Wrights got into the score sheet for a team leading fourth time in the set with a timely kill, the best offensive Eagle by far of the set. Hunter closed the set on a 5-3 run to take it 25-14.
The Eagles took some solace in the success of Subhana Wrights in the second set and started the third set taking risks on their serve. The gamble paid off early and the Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 lead (two aces). The Eagles were able to fend off multiple attacks by the Hawks as they saw themselves still up by five at the midway point of the match (12-7). But then the errors started creeping into CSE's game and the Hawks went on a 6-3 run that cut the lead down to two at 15-13.
That run sparked the Hawks to life and the Hunter block began to deflect the Eagle attacks at every turn and, more importantly, the Hawks began to convert on their offensive chances. The Eagles saw the Hawks jump ahead 18-17 but, typical of the team all year, the Eagles did not fold and tied it back up at 18 and then again 20. The difference in the closing of this set was the offensive prowess of the Hawks. Hunter College hit for four kills and no errors while the Eagles got an overpass kill as their only offensive output. The Hawks closed out the set on a 5-3 run to seal the set and match 25-23.
The Eagles' record now stands at 13W-15L. The Eagles next take on NJCU at home on Tuesday at 7pm in a match that will also feature the celebration and recognition of senior Chanice Sears for her commitment to the CSE Volleyball program.
The Eagles will need three wins from the last four matches to have the minimum qualifying standard for postseason play (ECAC Tournament - Metro Region).