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 makes Final Four for the first time in program history

The Violets face fellow United Volleyball Conference finalist Vassar College next weekend.
Julia Smerling
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

The men’s volleyball team qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament Final Four for the first time in program history on Saturday, April 20.

This season’s United Volleyball Conference tournament and NCAA appearance are NYU’s first since 2017, and only the second in program history. 

“I am so unbelievably proud of this team and everything we have accomplished so far,” said team captain and junior Buddy Cohen. “There’s no other group of guys I’d rather share this experience with.”

The No. 7-ranked Violets traveled to Lexington, Virginia to play Baruch College in the Sweet 16 round on Friday, April 19. Earlier in the season, the Violets had lost their previous match against the Bearcats in five sets. However, the team got its revenge, sweeping Baruch 25-21, 25-14 and 29-27. 

The victory pitted NYU against the No. 1-ranked Southern Virginia University the following day in the Elite Eight. 

NYU lost the first set 18-25, falling behind to an early SVU onslaught that the team could not recover. However, the Violets came back to win the second 25-19, leading for most of the set. The third set was an even affair that saw 16 ties, but Cohen secured a kill that gave the Violets the lead for good, and the team won the third set 25-23.

The Knights took the fourth set 15-25 and brought the match to a decisive fifth set. Prior to this fifth set, the Violets had only lost one fifth-set decider all season — in its first game against Baruch in January. 

When the fifth set was 13-13, a combo block along with junior Luke Boyer’s kill secured the two points to send the Violets through. Head coach José Piña said that the win against SVU was hard-fought and that the team showed its resiliency throughout.

“This has been a tremendous journey for this group of student-athletes and an experience we hope to continue for two more matches,” Piña told WSN.

The men’s volleyball team is now the second NYU team to come within reach of a national title this season, following women’s basketball’s historic win last month. 

The team will face familiar opponent Vassar College on April 26 in Dubuque, Iowa in the Final Four. If the Violets win, the team will play the national championship final against either No. 2-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology or No. 4-ranked California Lutheran University on Sunday, April 28, at 3 p.m.

“I anticipate a tough battle in this game against Vassar,” Cohen said. “I believe if we play up to our potential, we can beat anyone in the country. We have been challenged all season, and recently have risen to the occasion every time.”

Contact Sydney Barragan and Jonathan Mak at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Sydney Barragan
Sydney Barragan, Sports Editor
Sydney Barragan is a senior majoring in Journalism and Public Policy. She spends her free time reading, rewatching the same TV shows and talking about the Dodgers. Find her on Instagram @sydneybarragan.
Jonathan Mak
Jonathan Mak, Deputy Sports Editor
Jonathan Mak is a sophomore studying Journalism and Psychology at CAS. His mood depends on the Manchester United results, and he can be found obsessing over his fantasy Premier League team, trying to find authentic Southeast Asian food or watching "How I Met Your Mother." Send fantasy PL tips or invites to pick-up football games to @_jonmak on Instagram and @_jonathanmak_ on X, formerly Twitter.
Julia Smerling
Julia Smerling, Photo Editor
Julia Smerling is a first-year studying photography and imaging, and is one of WSN’s Photo Editors. She is from West Palm Beach, Florida, and you can find her writing poetry, overly obsessing about films, painting art on jeans and always having her headphones on. Also, she’s secretly Peter Parker. You can reach her on Instagram @juliasmerling or her art account @jul3sarchive (where mostly her mom hypes her up and likes her posts so please give it a look — it's becoming embarrassing at this point.)

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