By Noah P. Gugliotta
The Rider Broncs volleyball team came into the weekend looking to defeat two fellow MAAC conference opponents. On Sept. 15 the Broncs faced off against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
The match was dominated by the Broncs from start to finish. Rider won 25-19, 25-21 and 25-21. Senior outside hitter Savannah Logan helped the Broncs with 13 kills and senior right side hitter Hailey Riede contributed to the Broncs win with 11 kills.
Freshman setter Anilee Sher made her presence known in the middle of the match with a whopping 35 assists. She added two kills, one service ace and nine digs. Sher has at least 35 assists in the last six games for the Broncs. She was also awarded MAAC Co-Rookie of the Week.
The Broncs won all three games, their first sweep of the season.
“This is one of the cleaner matches that we’ve played this year,” said Coach Chris Feliciano. “It was nice to see us play a clean match. We were outstanding defensively.”
Feliciano felt there was still progress to be made.
“We are a resilient group that perseveres and finds ways to win games,” he said. “That’s a testament to our team fitting well together, not only in the gym, but outside as well. We have a lot of work to do.”
During Rider’s next match on Sept. 16 against the Fairfield Stags, their good fortune ran out. A successful start for the Broncs put them in the driver’s seat, but they could not close the match out the way they would have liked.
The first two games were won by the Broncs, but the Stags answered back with the next two sets. The fifth and final game gave the Broncs three separate opportunities for match point. They were not able to capitalize and eventually lost the final game 19-17.
“In the fifth set, we had three match points and we just did not execute,” Feliciano said. “There was some panic and hesitation on our side during those match points, but if this is what we’re working with it’s a good thing so early in the season.”
There were still glimpses of a cohesive unit, with 58 assists, 51 of them coming from Sher. She also added 16 digs for the Broncs.
Senior libero Rachelle Runyon totaled 20 digs during the match. She was named MAAC Libero of the Week on Tuesday.
Rider had 33 errors to Fairfield’s 28. This proved to be the Broncs’ downfall.
“I don’t think we played a real consistent match,” Coach Feliciano explained. “There were glimpses of what we were able to do against Quinnipiac, but we had inconsistency from our attacking line.”
Consistency has been a problem so far for Rider. Against Quinnipiac, the Broncs showcased discipline to soundly defeat the Bobcats. The match against Fairfield included a Rider team that made many errors.
The Rider Broncs volleyball team looks to bounce back against familiar foes. They face MAAC Conference rivals Niagara and Canisius Sept. 22 and 23.