Stony Brook Volleyball used its enthusiastic energy to defeat the Hartford Hawks, 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-17, 25-12) at Pritchard Gymnasium on Friday, Nov. 11.
“I think one of the things we talked about in the locker room was that showing how good of a team that we really are,” head coach Coley Pawlikowski said. “I think that was the difference.”
In Stony Brook’s last match against Hartford on Oct. 15, the team lost in four sets.
“When we went against Hartford last time, we just struggled,” Pawlikowski said. “I was proud for our team to keep out further, but I think our energy was just better and that’s usually where it starts for us. We did a much better job to find our level of energy.”
Unlike last time, Stony Brook came out stronger than its opponent. The Seawolves led in the first set, 12-6. Sophomore middle blocker Cydney Bowman and freshman opposite side hitter Maria Poole led the charge with two kills apiece. Middle hitter McKyla Brooks contributed a kill and an assist during the run.
The lead would last the game, with Hartford outside hitter Katy Henchy committing an attack error to secure the game point for Stony Brook.
In the second set, Stony Brook was losing its momentum. The team was faltering as it was down 23-17. But Brooks, sophomore middle blocker Taylor Wilson and freshman outside hitter Jordan Gels managed to put on a three-point run to put the Seawolves within three. Still, Stony Brook could not continue its comeback and lost the set, 25-20.
“The second game we kind of dipped and the approach is what gave us energy,” redshirt sophomore outside hitter Emily Costello said. “It’s always energy, we just need to play as a team and that’s how we win. And I think when we played them before we weren’t really going to attack and today we are like we have nothing to lose, let’s just go out and win.”
By the third set, Stony Brook’s energy level rose back up, with Costello starting off the set with an ace. Following Costello, Poole, Wilson and Gels scored five consecutive kills to reach a 10-5 lead. Brooks ended the set with a kill, giving the Seawolves a 25-17 win and a 2-1 match advantage.
“I feel like the whole team had a lot more energy than the last time we played them,” Brooks said. “It was more of an overall team win and not individual, so I thought we did better at that this time, we played better.”
In the final set, the Seawolves gave their ultimate best, winning 25-12 and hitting its highest attack percentage with .283.
“It’s just mindset,” Pawlikowski said. “We have an aggressive mindset. Our errors are down immediately. When we’re playing not to win or we’re playing scared, that’s something more will provoke errors. We just did our passes and handled the ball much better because of our strong mindset.”
Stony Brook came out dominant again in its match against UMass Lowell on Sunday, Nov. 13.
Within the first 15 minutes, the Seawolves were up 14-8, and they never looked back.
The Seawolves were able to claim victory in four sets: 25-19, 25-22, 25-27 and 25-19.
“I think we did a really good job as a team so we got tight a bit but we got through it and did a good job as a team,” Stony Brook head coach Coley Pawlikowski said. “We’re getting better day by day and it’s good to string the wins together just to reassure the girls to stick to the process because we’re improving and we’re battling.”
Costello had another brilliant match, breaking her personal record for kills in a match with 23.
“This is my fourth game starting and it’s amazing for me,” Costello said. “But it was just me like the sets were fast and then my libero was telling me where to where to score the ball. Honestly, my team was helping me score the ball. Our goal was to commit to each other and end the season off good — to build the momentum for the spring and going into next year. It feels really good.”
The team had a total of eight blocks, 64 kills and 23 errors with a hitting percentage of .283.
The Seawolves, who missed the America East Tournament, will next play on Nov. 22, when they conclude their season at LIU-Brooklyn.