New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Men’s volleyball win UVC Championship

The men’s volleyball team won its first conference title since 2017.
(Photo by Sammie Seamon, courtesy of NYU Athletics)

NYU men’s volleyball won the United Volleyball Conference for the second time in program history. This conference win, the first since 2017, earns the Violets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Violets finished their regular season 18-7, and 5-2 in the UVC, earning them a second-place, and a second-seed entry to the playoffs. The conference season kicked off with many games lost early in the season — notably 0-3 losses to both Vassar College and Elmira College. After a disappointing start, the team came back stronger than ever.

“We recognized our only way to NCAAs was by winning the conference,” first-year Emerson Evans said. “We knew we had the talent on the court and just needed to put the pieces together.”

The team came back after their opening losses with a five-match winning streak in conference play going into the playoffs. Winning the last regular season game against Nazareth University gave them a first-round bye week.

“As the season progressed, we changed our mindset to have an emphasis on team cohesion and working towards the same goal of winning the conference championship, becoming one unit and not [19] individuals,” said junior and captain Buddy Cohen. “We are a very close-knit group this year which played a pivotal role in our overall accomplishments this season.”

In the semifinal on April 13, NYU swept Nazareth University in straight sets 25-16, 25-19, 25-23. They advanced to play the top-seeded team Vassar College in the finals the next day.

“I was expecting our success because of the momentum we had going into the playoffs,” Cohen said. “Being on a large win streak to end the season gave our team the confidence to understand we can compete with any team in the country.”

In the final match, the Violets were down after losing the first set 25-15. Cohen told WSN that the team stayed composed and knew that they were prepared to take the match head on, and they came back to win the next set 25-19.

Vassar was hot on their heels, going up 6-3 in the third set, but the Violets answered with a six-point run with a service ace by Evans and kills by Cohen and junior Luke Boyer. NYU kept the lead, winning the third set 25-22.

The Violets ended the match with a win in the fourth set, breaking a 6-6 tie with a four-point streak. A kill by Cohen ended the set, earning the team the conference championship title.

“The match against Vassar was a very courageous performance by this group of young men,” said head coach José Piña. “We were able to overcome a shaky start and earn an NCAA bid. Congrats to them.”

NYU plays the first two rounds of the NCAA D-III Tournament in Buena Vista, Virginia, this weekend, April 19-20.

“We are really motivated this weekend, since a win would make history as the furthest the team has ever made it in the tournament,” Evans said. “We would love the chance to get revenge on Baruch and then face the giants of southern Virginia.”

Contact Sidney Snider at [email protected].

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    AllenApr 19, 2024 at 9:26 am

    Congratulations, Men’s Volleyball! Wow!