The NYU women’s volleyball team dropped its fourth straight match Tuesday night, losing in a hard fought contest to cross-river foe Stevens Institute of Technology. The loss drops the Violets’ record to 17-12, while Stevens moves to 24-4 on the year. The Violets came out hot in the first set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in only a minute. They were riding on the momentum from a senior night ceremony that unofficially bid farewell to four players — captain Allie Williams, Sonya Bray, Katie Robinson and Vera Shulgina. After their quick start, however, the Violets hit a wall and were a little flat for the remainder of the set, letting Stevens handle the tempo and cruise to a win. The Violets hung tight until the middle of the set, when a few mental mistakes condemned their chances at grabbing the early lead in the match.
The Violets suffered a bit of a slump at the beginning of the second set. Falling behind early at 8-3 proved to be their biggest problem for the majority of the night, as they often found themselves having to claw back into sets. Thanks to some good team play, as well as a positioned timeout call by coach Jolie Ward and a critical ace from sophomore libero MaTia Hughes, the Violets were able to swing the momentum back in their favor in the middle of the set. A string of NYU kills, including those from junior middle blocker Nicole Frias on the 23rd and 24th point, allowed the Violets to ride that momentum to a 25-21 set victory.
The third and fourth sets were again indicative of the back and forth nature of volleyball. The Violets looked emotionally burnt out after their seven-point comeback in the second set, however. Good attacking play from Frias, Williams and sophomore outside hitter Gigi Morally kept it close, but the Violets could not corral several serves from Stevens freshman outside hitter Brianna Evans. They let the third set slip, after falling behind 21-14 and needing a timeout to regroup. NYU went on to lose the set by a count of 25-17.
The fourth set was a back and forth battle between the two sides. The set started out 4-3 in favor of Stevens, only to see them reel off three straight and extend their lead. A Frias kill and Hughes ace made the score 15-11 before Bray put her mark on the set, putting away a kill to force an SIT timeout. Bray then had two straight blocks to push the lead all the way out to 18-11. There were a few disjointed plays after that, and Ward felt it necessary to take a timeout. Her strategy worked, as the Violets went on to take the set 25-17.
The Violets started spirited in the fifth and final set by winning two straight points, but Stevens took over after that. It seemed as though NYU’s streakiness had finally taken a toll on them, and the team petered out in the fifth set with a couple unforced errors, losing by a score of 15-9. An important takeaway from the night was the play of the seniors, who combined for 15 kills.
“It’s a weird feeling,” Frias said. “It was the last volleyball game played at Coles. And it was on senior night, which is already emotional.”
NYU has yet to announce a specific closing date for Coles as a part of the broader expansion plan.
The Violets will look to finish the season on a stronger note when they travel to Galloway, New Jersey, on Oct 25 for a back-to-back against Richard Stockton College and Baruch College.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 23 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]