By Owen Russell
On Friday, Nov. 12, the Brooklyn College Women’s Volleyball team ended their season with a loss to NYU in the first round of the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament. Despite the defeat, Brooklyn is coming off one of, if not, their best season ever; culminating in the program’s first CUNYAC Championship in nearly forty years.
All season the Bulldogs showed grit and determination. After losing their opening contest of the season, the team went on to win straight, dominating teams all over New York in the process.
While the beginning of the season was encouraging, the Bulldogs stumbled a bit, losing six of their following eight matches. Brooklyn’s rough patch came mostly on the road, losing matches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The fall did not last long though, and soon the Bulldogs were rolling once more.
Brooklyn went on to dominate in CUNYAC play. Taking down John Jay, CCNY, York, and others, the Bulldogs closed out the regular season 5-1 in conference play. Their only loss among the fellow CUNYs came against Hunter on Oct. 11. The Hawks beat Brooklyn 3-1 in sets. While the Bulldogs may have lost this encounter, they would get their revenge less than a month later.
Closing the season in fine form, the Bulldogs were the top-ranked seed in the CUNYAC tournament. Brooklyn made quick work of the fourth seed, John Jay, sweeping them with ease. The Bloodhounds lost the first two sets by double digits each time. In the third and final set, Brooklyn was able to stave off a more competitive effort, advancing to the finals.
Nov. 5 rolled around and Brooklyn found themselves face to face with the only CUNY team to knock them off this season, the Hunter Hawks. The only thing different about this match was its fight for the Conference title. The two teams traded sets, Brooklyn winning the first, Hunter winning the second, so on and so forth. After four sets the match was tied 2-2, the teams were headed to an extra set.
The extra set is only played till 15 in volleyball (as opposed to 25 in a regular set). With everything on the line, Brooklyn rose to the occasion, winning 15-9. Having bested the rest of the CUNYAC, Brooklyn could officially call themselves champions.
It might go without saying, but this team could not have succeeded without spectacular athletes. Brooklyn had two players on the CUNYAC Women’s Volleyball All-Star First Team, Ashley Fung and Ezri Shor, and Sydney Gdanski on the Second Team. Along with that, the Bulldogs also boast the 2021 Rookie of the Year (Aleah Rafat) and Coach of the Year (Mateusz Gotowicki).
It was an incredible year for the Bulldogs. While they may have lost to NYU, it was an honor in and of itself to have qualified for the tournament.