By Owen Russell
Reporting Assistance By Damien Ovalle
The women’s volleyball team came up short in their quest for a second straight CUNYAC Championship this past week. Despite the ending result, the Bulldogs managed to pull off an exciting semifinals victory over John Jay, before suffering a sweep at the hands of the 2022 Champion Hunter College.
Brooklyn’s thrilling showdown against John Jay came on Thursday, Nov. 3 in front of a packed West Quad Gymnasium. Brooklyn College fans packed the stands in an attempt to give the Bulldogs a competitive edge.
“We’re supporting our team and making the opponent nervous,” Jason Martinez from Brooklyn’s men’s soccer team told the Vanguard.
The fever from inside the gymnasium could be felt by more than just the Brooklyn College faithful. “I’m a John Jay alum but it’s dope being here and feeling the energy,” said Catherine Guy. “It feels like a real sporting event.”
Despite having the crowd at their back, Brooklyn stumbled out of the gate. John Jay jumped to a 1-0 lead, taking the first set 25-21. Not one to back down, the Bulldogs rallied claiming the next two sets, 25-22 and 25-20, respectively. Brooklyn needed just one more set to punch a ticket to the championship, but John Jay had other ideas. The Bloodhounds took Brooklyn by surprise and walloped them in the fourth set, winning 25-14. It all came down to the fifth and final set.
John Jay seemingly held the momentum. The Bloodhounds opened the decisive set with three straight points, they only needed 12 more to win. As the Bulldogs’ crowd roared their support, Brooklyn regrouped. The Bulldogs scored four straight, taking the lead. From there the two canine competitors traded blows, but Brooklyn held strong. When all was said and done, the Bulldogs stood victorious. The final set ended 15-11, in favor of Brooklyn.
The epic victory required a total team effort, but a few Bulldogs stood out. Sophomore Tessa Winkleman dominated, tallying 27 kills across the five sets. Sophomore Sydney Gdanski earned 31 assists while scoring 4 aces.
“I think the team never gives up regardless of the circumstances and they played amazingly with passion and fight,” said Alanis Guinada, a senior outside hitter. Brooklyn certainly showed their resolve. Their win over John Jay propelled them to their second straight conference championships, a rematch with the Hunter Hawks.
Brooklyn could not capitalize on their captivating semifinal win, losing the Friday, Nov. 4 matchup against the Hawks 3-0. The Bulldogs can still remember last year’s finals, where they were No. 1 seeded and traded sets against the Hunter underdogs. In the end, Brooklyn came out victorious and earned a spot in the NCAA Division III National Tournament in 2021.
This time around, Hunter boasted the higher seed, and came into the match with a score to settle. Brooklyn fought tooth and nail in the first set, but came up short. Hunter stole the first set 27-25. In the second, Brooklyn could not get much of anything going. The Bulldogs lost 25-12.
With their season on the line, Brooklyn buckled down and once more played tough. The two teams traded blows, going down yet again to the wire. Despite leading 24-23, Brooklyn could not close the game. Hunter scored three straight points, and squared their championship grudge. It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, but a strong performance nonetheless.
Come next season they will look to reclaim their title, starting in fall 2023.