Piccolini offers steady play as Broncs fall

Sophomore Elyse Grassmuck serves in the Broncs’  loss to Manhattan. The defeat gave the team a 2-10 record in the MAAC.By Josh Veltrie

Despite solid, consistent play from sophomore Amanda Piccolini, Rider’s volleyball team dropped another two conference games.

Although the Broncs had a strong home crowd, the team had a lot of trouble finishing sets against Fairfield. Rider was defeated 25-21 in three sets during a match that saw 31 ties and 13 lead changes.

“We had trouble closing out sets; going into that phase of the game you need to be really focused to pull out the win,” Head Coach Emily Ahlquist said. “Fairfield is the type of team that isn’t going to give us anything, [so] we have to earn it.”

For Rider (9-13 overall, 2-10 MAAC), senior Lindsay Brant compiled 12 digs and 11 kills, her sixth double-double of the season, with Piccolini adding 32 assists.

“Amanda is running a great game,” Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “She is really seeing the blockers, serving tough and playing defense. She has developed into a wonderful setter.”

On Saturday, Manhattan handed the Broncs their third straight loss, defeating them 25-21 in all three sets.

“We played extremely flat; I think the match on Friday really took a lot out of the girls,” Ahlquist said. “We needed to play with more emotion. If we did that, things could have been different.”

For Rider, Piccolini had 25 assists and seven digs, with junior Tara Hansen adding 13 digs in a match that saw 22 ties and 11 lead changes.

“Every player played well at some point over the weekend, but Piccolini was probably the steadiest throughout both games,” Ahlquist said. “We just need to start playing with more consistency all around.”

The Broncs have not beaten Manhattan since the 2004 season, only winning four of 19 matches all time against the Jaspers.

This weekend, Rider is set to play two more MAAC matches at home, squaring off against Siena tomorrow and Manhattan on Sunday.

“We need to rest, get healthy and practice hard to be successful this weekend,” Ahlquist said. “We have to take it one point at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.”

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