By Lauren Amour
Senior hitter Hailey Riede once again led the volleyball team to another stellar sweep.
The Broncs were in MAAC play against St. Peter’s Peacocks on Oct. 6 at home. Riede continued to make history as she recorded 10 kills for the match and posted a .333 attack percentage. She secured third place in program history with 1,128 kills.
Her teammate, sophomore hitter Meredith Pellegrino, contributed to the Broncs’ 3-0 sweep against St. Peter’s by recording 14 kills of her own and posting a .481 hitting percentage for the match. Her zero attack errors also contributed to one of her best matches of the season. The Broncs defeated the visiting Peacocks by scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-17.
Freshman setter Anilee Sher also contributed to the Broncs’ 17th straight win against St. Peter’s by completing another double-double, due in part to her 41-assist, 10-dig performance.
Junior libero Rachelle Runyon led the Rider defense with 17 digs, which was her ninth time producing 10 or more digs in a game. Defensive teammates, sophomore libero Brynn Sherbert and freshman libero Ellen Paddock chipped in with a combined 13 digs for the match.
As a whole, the team produced a season-high attack percentage of .364, the third time this season they have posted a percentage over .300.
“It’s rewarding to see that type of effort and performance,” said Head Coach Chris Feliciano. “Our ball control and first touch did a great job today and took pressure off [our setters].”
The Broncs’ sweep of St. Peter’s was needed after they dropped an away game 3-2 against Iona on Oct. 3.
In the MAAC match-up, Rider and Iona went back-and-forth with the first team to score 20 points in each set ultimately losing. Despite the upset, seniors Savannah Logan and Riede continued to impress by each posting 15 kills. Junior hitter Alexa Shello aided by having 12 kills of her own.
Sher’s 44-assist, 16-dig game helped the middle to a successful match, despite the disappointing five-set loss. Runyon, Sherbert and sophomore setter Danielle Blanco all had strong performances defensively as well, with Runyon posting a career-high 37 digs for the match. Blanco contributed 12 digs and Sherbert had 10.
Logan’s double-double also helped to hold off the Gaels and prevented the Broncs from being swept.
The conference loss against Iona ended a four-match winning streak for the Broncs against their MAAC opponent.
The Broncs wrapped up their three-game set with a nonconference match-up against the Coppin State Eagles on Oct. 7.
Unfortunately, the Broncs fell in five sets against Coppin State, losing by scores of 25-14, 25-21 and 15-9.
In the final frame, the Eagles held on for a win, continuing from their 3-0 sweep against the Broncs last season.
Rider struggled throughout the game with 32 attack errors, which helped to lead the 6-16, 1-2 MAAC Coppin State to a successful and much-needed win against the .500 Broncs.
Shello helped pick up the pieces for the Rider offense, who led the team with seven kills. Riede and senior hitter Perry Williams each had six kills.
Sher’s steady middle play with 32 assists and eight digs, along with Runyon’s 16 digs and Blanco’s 10 helped the defense to hold off the surging Eagles.
The Broncs are now 2-2 all-time against Coppin State.
The Broncs return home against two MAAC rivals, Canisius and Niagara on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, respectively. In their last match-up against Canisius on Sept. 23, Rider suffered a 3-0 sweep against the Griffs.
In their last contest against the Niagara Purple Eagles on Sept. 22, the Broncs swept their MAAC opponent, 3-0.
These two upcoming conference games are decisive for the Broncs, as their record now sits evenly at the .500 mark at 8-8. Their record against MAAC teams also lies at .500.
Fortunately, the Broncs are at home for both contests and their record at home is 3-2, as opposed to their road record of 3-5.
Despite the up-and-down nature of the conference season so far, Runyon remained confident in the team’s ability.
“There are many positives that have come from MAAC play,” said Runyon. “Everything is a learning experience. I am very optimistic about the team’s chances going forward. We have a very talented group of girls and I have no doubt in my mind that we will finish as a top team.”
Just 11 matches remain for the team, with 10 of those matches against MAAC teams. The one exception is a game against Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 24.
Only five of the remaining matches will be at home. The Broncs remain hopeful for a successful conclusion of the season, and look to advance to the postseason.