Manhattan Volleyball Loses Match with Niagara

Manhattan College’s volleyball team lost to Niagara University in their home match on Oct. 1 with a score of 0-3. GOJASPERS/COURTESY

By Jilleen Barrett, Managing Editor/Features Editor

Manhattan College’s volleyball team lost to Niagara University in their home match on Oct. 1 with a score of 0-3.

The match started out like any other; Manhattan’s teammates hyped each other up with frequent high fives and pats on the back, throwing balls to each other as they practiced their serves and hits.

Until the other, much stronger team started their warmups. Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” blared through Draddy Gymnasium. The lyrics “As I recall, I know you love to show off” came through the speakers as the Purple Eagles showed the Jaspers just what kind of skills they would be up against during the game.

It was clear the home team was not ready to take on this kind of challenge.

The first set quickly went in favor of Niagara, and they won 9-4. The second set began and it got a little more competitive, with outside hitter and Chile native Camila Gomez emphatically telling the referee that the other team had violated a rule.

Gomez made it clear that she is not afraid to speak up about this kind of thing.

“We saw that there was a touch on the block on the girls side … we thought that was our point. And [the referee] wasn’t seeing them and [it was] clear to us that somebody literally touched it … Yeah, I’m very explosive,” Gomez said after the game.

Despite Gomez’s spunk on the court — as well as her contributions of seven kills and 11 digs during this match — she did say she felt this was one of their worst games due to a lack of energy amongst the entire team. 

“I don’t think we did that well, energy wise,” Gomez said. “We could have taken a set or two or won the game, but I think we weren’t there mentally today.”

Julia Menocal, a senior outside hitter and middle blocker who had seven kills and 13 digs during this game, said she felt the same way about the team’s energy. She anticipated the entire team having a “reset” for the game against Canisius on the next day, Oct. 2. Mauro Miletic, the coach of the team, said he would likely “reshuffle” the starting lineup. 

Since these interviews, that match has passed, with the Jaspers losing 0-3 again.

She said whenever the teams are able to get the ball going back and forth longer, it makes her try even harder to win the point.

“Every ball that goes back and forth makes you hungrier to get it, and everyone works harder,” Menocal said. “And then if you get the point, you get the point. If you don’t, it intensifies you for the next round.”

Menocal is a Bronx native and was excited to have her boyfriend and her mom, Valerie Menocal, at the match that day. Also in the stands were Christina Katsamouri and Anne Bair, who play for the women’s basketball team but competed with the volleyball team until their season started. Emilia Lynch, a women’s lacrosse player, will also be playing on the team until her season starts.

Erin Prevo, who graduated from Manhattan in 2022 and played for the volleyball team for all of her undergraduate years at the college, attended the match as well. She said she wants to come to as many of the matches as possible since she now lives about fifteen minutes away from campus. 

Even though Menocal and Gomez did not feel positively about their energy that day, Prevo said that from her perspective in the stands and as an alumna of the program, they looked strong.

“I see a lot more fight in them this year and you have to appreciate that,” Prevo said. “Niagara is a really good team and we always would struggle against them, home and away. So seeing them really put up a good fight with their roster and not having a lot of the same players — I’m like, really impressed.”