By Lauren Amour
Coming off a tough five-game setback against Fairfield, the volleyball team was away on Sept. 22 and 23, sweeping Niagara 3-0 and then suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of Canisius.
— Rider Volleyball (@Broncsvball) September 22, 2018
The Broncs entered the games with a 5-4 record, hungry for a win against their MAAC rivals.
Niagara, who posted an overall record of 1-11 and conference record of 1-1 coming into the contest, was no match for the Broncs.
Rider swept their second conference game of the season, while Niagara dropped their second MAAC match in a row.
Senior hitter Hailey Riede led the Broncs to one of their best matches of the year with 14 kills and a season-high 42.9 attack percentage.
Along with Riede, sophomore hitter Meredith Pellegrino and junior blocker Evelyn Shanefield contributed to the Broncs’ sweep with 10 kills and seven kills, respectively.
On defense, sophomore setter Danielle Blanco, freshman setter Anilee Sher and junior libero Rachelle Runyon dominated the Purple Eagles by contributing a combined 32 digs, with Blanco setting a team-high of 12 digs in the game.
Sher continued to prove herself as a vital newcomer to the team by posting another double-double as a result of a 34-assist, 10-dig performance. This is now her second double-double against a MAAC team.
Through three sets, the Broncs won by scores of 25-17 in the first set, 25-15 in the second and 25-19 to complete the sweep.
Head Coach Chris Feliciano believes the team did a great job of “controlling the pace,” especially when road matches can be a struggle for the team.
With the overwhelming victory, the Broncs snapped a two-match losing streak against the Purple Eagles.
Overall, Feliciano was pleased with the win, in which the team totaled 60 points, especially after their tough loss against Fairfield.
“I knew that a match like this was coming after we dropped the Fairfield match the way we did,” said Feliciano. “There was a different level of focus in the team this week.”
The Broncs wrapped up their Western New York road trip on Sept. 23 in a matinee against Canisius, looking for their fifth straight win against the Golden Griffins.
Rider would be on the other end of a 3-0 result against Canisius, losing the first two sets by a score of 25-17 and dropping the third set 30-28.
With the loss, Rider saw their place in the conference slip to fifth. It also ended the Broncs’ four-game winning streak against the Golden Griffins.
After the weekend of action, Rider had a conference record of 2-2.
“We just want to put one foot in front of another each day and just get better,” said Feliciano.
The Broncs next match will be at home on Sept. 29 against Siena at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Gym.
In 2017, Rider split the season series with Siena, with each team winning the match played on its home court.
On Sept. 30, Rider welcomes in another conference foe, Marist, at 1 p.m. The Broncs were eliminated by the Red Foxes in the first round of the MAAC Tournament last season.