NEW PALTZ — After winning the first two games, New Paltz allowed Division I St. Francis (Pa.) back into the match, before finally prevailing in five games, 15-11, 15-12, 6-15, 8-15, 15-10, in an Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) match on Saturday afternoon at Elting Gymnasium.
In so doing, the (9-13 overall, 1-8 EIVA Hay) Hawks delivered a victory in the final home match of Head Coach Tony Bonilla, avenging a tough four-game road loss to the (6-14 overall, 2-11 EIVA Hay) Red Flash on February 4 and keeping their EIVA playoff hopes alive.
Junior Christopher Wright (four blocks, three aces, three digs) and freshman Miguel Soriano (nine blocks, five digs) led the team with 18 kills apiece, while senior Robert Manosca added 12 assists, nine digs and eight kills. Additionally, junior Carlos Tollinche had 11 digs and four blocks for the Hawks.
Bonilla, a 1987 New Paltz graduate, has decided to step down as the Hawks’ men’s and women’s volleyball coach after the season to spend more time with his family. He compiled a 201-114 record (.638 winning percentage) over eight seasons with the Hawk women and has a 189-151 mark (.556 winning percentage) in 12 seasons with the men, with at least three matches remaining.
The New Paltz women had seven straight winning seasons under Bonilla’s leadership, and appeared in the last seven New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association Tournaments and the last six SUNYAC Tournaments. He shared SUNYAC Women’s Volleyball Co-Coach of the Year honors with Cortland’s Joan Sitterly in 1998, after guiding the women to a school-record 31 wins.
New Paltz travels to Queens College on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. match.