The State University of New York at New Paltz men’s volleyball team enjoyed a historic run in 2014, experiencing its most successful season in nearly three decades after going 28-4 overall, winning the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) title and advancing to the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Coach Radu Petrus, who completed his eighth year at the helm of the program, was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Division III Coach of the Year, while a program-record three student-athletes picked up AVCA All-America honors. Tim Ferriter ’16 and Christian Smith ’16 each were named to the All-America First Team, while Steven Woessner ’17 was selected to the All-America Second Team in addition to being named the AVCA Newcomer of the Year.
The Hawks—who were ranked as high as No. 1 in the AVCA’s National Division III coaches’ poll, an honor they held on to for three consecutive weeks—achieved a number of notable feats during the 2014 season. The Hawks beat then ranked No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Division III —Springfield College and Rivier University—on the same day (Feb. 14); achieved a 16-match winning streak midway through the season, which included a straight-set victory over eventual national champion Springfield; won their first-ever UVC title, losing just one set across the two-day conference tournament; and qualified for their first-ever NCAA Tournament, making it to the national semifinal— the furthest that any New Paltz team has advanced in its history in NCAA’s Division III.
Even more exciting is the prospect of matching 2014’s success next year; just two starters from New Paltz’s 2014 team are seniors, while the rest of the starting lineup consists of a junior, three sophomores and a freshman.