By Thomas Albano
The Broncs will get a short taste of home on Oct. 23 when they take on Delaware State before facing Cainsius on Oct. 26 and Niagara on Oct. 27 on the road.
The Broncs (11-8, 3-6 MAAC) enter this week after splitting a pair of games on the road this past weekend. The Broncs traveled to New Rochelle, N.Y., and fell to Iona, 3-1. They then faced Manhattan, where the Broncs were victorious by a score of 3-2.
The team struggled with its play on Oct. 19, when it fell to Iona 25-15, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-23.
“I think the Iona game came down to who was mentally tougher that day and they had us beat,” freshman outside hitter Ryan Ackermann said. “We didn’t put up the fight that we should have, but now we know for the next time we play them that we have to come out much stronger. We know what we have to do to beat them.”
Head Coach Christopher Feliciano agreed and said his team could have produced a better performance.
“We weren’t playing up to what our identity was,” Feliciano said. “We got back and won the third set and the fourth set we lost in a huge effort.”
Things, however, turned around for the Broncs on Oct. 20 when they faced Manhattan — a top team in the MAAC. The Broncs won the match in five sets, which ended a five-game losing streak.
Feliciano said there were key differences between the match against Iona and the one against Manhattan.
“We ran all our systems and we paid attention to the game plan,” he said. “It was an outstanding match. It’s great we got up 2-0 and even when Manhattan came back the next two sets, we battled hard in the fifth set.”
Junior outside hitter Jaclyn Webber said there was something about playing a top team like Manhattan that was a real motivation toward victory.
“Against Manhattan we wanted to prove to ourselves that we are as good as we know we are, and we did,” Webber said. “Manhattan is at the top of our conference and we took it to them.”
One of the key performers from this road trip was freshman middle hitter Kaitlyn Griffin, who hit .524 with 13 kills against Iona and hit .462 with 13 kills, three digs, and two blocks against Manhattan.
“Griffin has had rough patches the last couple of weeks,” Feliciano said. “Through practice she was able to improve and work things out.”
Feliciano also commended Webber, who hit .257 with 14 digs, 11 kills and four service aces, for her defensive work in the match against Manhattan. Now for the Broncs, they are preparing for a non-conference match against Delaware State (1-16, 0-5 MEAC) in Alumni Gym. The Broncs have previously met both Canisius and Niagara earlier this season with the Broncs losing to Canisius, but picking up a win in the match against Niagara.
“I’m excited for all three of those games coming up,” Ackermann said. “I think they are all games that could be won with a little bit of fight. I think the team is most excited to get another chance to play Canisius knowing what we know about them. I think that’ll be one of the best games of the season and we are all super-excited to play them.”