Men’s volleyball advances to semifinals, face fourth-seed York

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Sophomore Stephen Roach (11) sets up junior Braden Carter for a spike versus the York College Cardinals in the first round of the CUNYAC tournament.

After achieving a 15-1 CUNYAC conference record this season, the Baruch College men’s volleyball team advanced to the CUNYAC tournament as the second seed behind the Hunter College Hawks. Baruch’s record reflects the stature of a team ready to compete in championship games. The Bearcats seemingly walked into this year’s season with the intention of making a statement in the CUNYAC conference, overcoming nearly every opponent they have matched up with.

Following their loss to the No. 12 Kean University, Baruch went on a four-game winning streak, which began with a well-fought battle against the John Jay Bloodhounds on March 22. The Bearcats toppled the Bloodhounds in a game that went the distance. Out of a total of five sets, the Bearcats came out on top in sets two, four and five with scores of 27-25, 25-20 and 15-8, respectively. Both sides had similar stat sheets. Although the Bearcats recorded 47 kills as a team in the game, the Bloodhounds were not too far off from that number, racking up 45 of their own on the night. Still, Baruch proved to be the better team that night as they edged out John Jay with a combination of teamwork and focus, resulting in a total of 43 assists, which was key to their victory. The Bearcats also recorded 11 aces.

Following their win against John Jay, the Bearcats completed a successful outing at their final CUNYAC tri-match in a doubleheader against John Jay and York College. Baruch cruised their way to victory in both matches, surrendering just one set to the Bloodhounds in the rematch and sweeping the Cardinals 3-0. The team would later face a rematch against Hunter where they would once again come out on top. “The rivalry against Hunter, is definitely one to watch,” stated Brian Coniglio, the Bearcats’ fourth-year setter.

Although Baruch exceeded Hunter in errors made, 31-29, the Bearcats were still able to keep the upper hand and maintained control throughout the game. The team scored a total of 73.5 points en route to their victory.  At the end of the night, the Bearcats’ hitting percentage was marked at .156 percent, just a hair better than the Hawks’ .123. According to Coniglio, the Bearcats were expecting to play their best game of volleyball heading into the matchup. “We prepared as much as we could. Not only is this game physical, but it is a mental game as well.”

Overall, the Bearcats accomplished their main goal set out for the night and split the season series 1-1 against the Hawks.

The Bearcats four-game winning streak eventually came to an end when they opposed the top two teams in the division, the No. 1 ranked SUNY New Paltz and No. 2 Springfield College. “We knew it would take a full team effort, from everyone on the court to the players on the bench, to win against either team. We played Springfield before at home, and knew that they ran a fast offense, so we were more prepared to play them this time. New Paltz we knew was a great team because they were ranked No. 1,” said Coniglio.

Despite the preparation, it was a short night for the Bearcats, as both games ended sooner than expected, and the Bearcats were unable to put points on the board, losing 0-3 in each game. In the game against New Paltz, there was a large discrepancy in the number of assists and aces attempted, which illustrates how much the Bearcats struggled to get their offense going.

The Bearcats started their postseason play on Tuesday, April 5 with a 3-0 rout over the College of Staten Island Dolphins in the quarterfinals. Baruch and CSI played against each other two times in the regular season, and both times the Bearcats came out on top 3-0. Tuesday’s matchup had a similar feel, as the Bearcats continued to wreck the visiting Dolphins at their home court. With the intensity of the home crowd behind them, the Bearcats played impeccable defense, holding CSI to a measly .043 hitting percentage. Baruch also displayed good teamwork offensively with a team total of 35 assists, compared to the Dolphins’ nine. Brady Ambro led the attack for the Bearcats, recording a career-high 10 aces en route to the victory. Baruch’s quest for its eighth consecutive CUNYAC title continued on Friday against York College in the semifinals. The game ended after press time. Baruch hosted the College of Staten Island at home in the first round of the CUNYAC championships on Tuesday, April 5. The Bearcats won the regular season series against York College in the semifinals. The game ended after press time.

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