Broncs split MAAC matches, stay below .500
By Josh Veltrie
The Rider volleyball team split the weekend in conference matches, overtaking Niagara 3-2 and then falling to Canisius 1-3.
Rider (9-11, 2-8 MAAC) won against Niagara, 18-25, 25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 15-10, to snap a four-match losing streak in the MAAC. It was the second time the team had beaten the Purple Eagles this season, after defeating them Sept. 28 at home.
“I was very happy with our performance Saturday; we improved a lot from the week before,” said Head Coach Emily Ahlquist. “It is very hard to beat a good team twice in such a short period of time and we were able to accomplish that.”
Senior Lindsay Brant and sophomore Amanda Piccolini guided the Broncs to victory. Brant had 12 digs and 12 kills, her second double-double in a row and fifth of the season, while Piccolini led the team with 44 assists.
“Amanda was basically our quarterback; she was very steady throughout the whole match and she has stepped up as our leader who leads by example,” Ahlquist said.
Also for Rider, junior Amy Jeary had 16 digs, sophomore Katelyn Thompson had 14 kills and junior Brittany Hayes added 12 kills and three blocks.
The win was the first five set match that the Broncs had won all season.
Canisius defeated the Broncs 23-25, 29-27, 25-18, 25-18 on Sunday, Oct. 19 in a match that had 26 ties and 15 lead changes. Piccolini led Rider with 38 assists and 12 digs.
“We were down a starter Sunday, but we were still able to pull together and be competitive,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately we just came up a little short.”
Brant had 15 kills, sophomore Elyse Grassmuck had 13 kills and nine digs and Jeary added 22 digs.
“I think we have a lot of potential and we could be doing a lot better than we are,” Thompson said. “We are practicing really hard and focusing on winning our matches this weekend.”
Rider has two home games this weekend against Fairfield tonight at 7 and Manhattan at 2 p.m. on Saturday.