By Luke Lombardi
On Sept. 9, Rider volleyball took a trip to Washington D.C. for its final non-conference tournament of the season, going 1-1 in matches with Georgetown and George Washington University, before ending the weekend with a loss to Binghamton on Sept. 10.
The Broncs started off the weekend well. After a disappointing performance in the Georgetown/George Washington Tournament the previous weekend, Rider came out motivated defeating Georgetown three sets to one.
After starting off with a set one loss, the Broncs turned things around and didn’t look back. Senior opposite hitter Morgan Romano led the team with 18 kills, while senior libero Pamela Loh had 14 digs which was a team high.
After gaining a win in game one, the team was feeling good.
Freshman outside hitter Brynn Johnson said, “It felt good. It felt refreshing. I think right now what we’re focusing on is consistency because we have really good moments where we all do a great job and play together.”
They followed up the win with a heartbreaking loss against George Washington in five sets.
No team in this match won two sets in a row and every set but one came down to four points or less.
Romano continued to look in mid-season form as she finished this match with 23 kills.
“It’s definitely good to get back up to my numbers that I was at to help my team and be able to produce and know that they can count on me if they need me to put a ball away, but I definitely could have done better too in that game,” Romano said. “My hitting percentage wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be either. It’s definitely good knowing that my setters know that they can trust me and my other hitters know that they can trust me and that I can produce for them.”
Unfortunately for the Broncs, their last game of the weekend against Binghamton was a nightmare.
They lost 3-0 with no set being extremely competitive. Rider was out-blocked 12-3 in the match, which was a common theme all weekend.
Head Coach Jeff Rotondo said, “I’ll be honest, it’s not talent. I think it’s mental sloppiness and that’s what we’re dealing with and we’re kind of working through that. …. All they’re thinking about is ‘Don’t get blocked’ and they’re getting blocked a lot.”
Even with the tough preseason, the players are looking forward to finally having a home game.
“It’s definitely going to be nice being home because we have been away for a while and we’ve had a lot of games. Our preseason is one of the longer preseasons out of other conferences for volleyball, but it’s definitely nice [that we’re] going to be home on our home court, seeing our home crowd. It’s going to be more comfortable. I feel like it’s going to be really good for us and I’m very excited for Saturday,” said Romano.
Rider looks to finish their preseason on a positive note when they play Princeton on Sept. 14 before hosting St. Peters in the conference opener on Sept. 17.