By Paige McAtee
Rider volleyball dropped two home conference matches this weekend, giving them four losses in a row. The Broncs (3-16 overall, 1-7 MAAC) were defeated by Niagara 3-0 on Saturday and than fell to Canisius 3-1 on Sunday.
It was a tough battle between both teams on Saturday, but Niagara (13-6 overall, 6-2 MAAC) outplayed the Broncs. Junior Amanda Piccolini played well for Rider, compiling 31 assists and 11 digs while senior Amy Jeary had 12 digs.
In a match that looked one-sided, a closer look at the scores revealed a well-played contest that featured 36 ties and 10 lead changes.
Freshman Brianna Wallace played well for the Broncs, having 10 kills and leading Rider with 10.5 points.
“We played really hard,” Wallace said. “We tried to change up our defense to try and stop their offense, but they just outsmarted us on that day.”
Rider lost the first set 28-26, which was a sign of the day to come for the Broncs.
The second set started off tight after the teams traded the first 18 points, leading to a 9-9 tie. The Purple Eagles then made it 8-1, giving them a comfortable lead they would not relinquish. Niagara won the set 25-19.
The third and final set was one both teams really wanted, and it showed as they traded points until the score was tied at 22. Niagara then sealed the deal, scoring the final three points, winning the set and match. Niagara is currently in second place in the MAAC, trailing only Fairfield.
According to Rider Sports Information, Head Coach Emily Ahlquist believes that the Broncs had a huge improvement, and she is excited to see how the team plays in its upcoming matches.
The following day, the Broncs improved and had a solid match against the Golden Griffins but still dropped their fourth straight match.
Rider started off strong in the first set, staying with Canisius (8-10 overall, 5-3 MAAC) before coming up a little short, losing 25-22. The third place Golden Griffins then handled the Broncs pretty easily in the second set, beating them handily 25-11.
Going into intermission, Rider was down two sets to none.
“We came back hard after the 10 minute intermission with a completely changed attitude,” Wallace said. “We played extra hard and won the third set, but fell in the fourth set.”
Wallace finished the match with 13 kills for the Broncs.
Rider won the third set 25-22, as the Broncs were able to hold off a late Canisius rally for their only win of the match.
The Golden Griffins made sure Rider would not be able to extend the match in the fourth set. They cruised to an early lead and ended up winning the set 25-16.
Junior Katelyn Thompson came off the bench and helped Rider by having 16 digs and seven kills.
“We could have communicated more effectively throughout both matches,” Thompson said. “We also need to stay commited to the end of each play.”
Also for Rider, senior Alex Chapla just missed a double-double. Chapla had 12 kills and nine digs while also adding four blocks.
Last year, Canisius won every match they played against Rider, and have won 14 of the 17 matches all-time against the Broncs.
Rider will hit the road and play Canisius on Oct. 31, in Buffalo, N.Y.
“We just need to maintain a high level of play throughout the match and stay focused on our goal, which is to win matches,” Thompson said.
In their next match, Rider will play Marist for the first time this season in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on Oct. 17.
The Broncs will move on to take on the Stags of Fairfield as Rider will try for a sweep of the first-place team in the MAAC. The Broncs defeated Fairfield 3-1 on Sept. 27 at home. Rider has not won since.
– Additional reporting by Josh Veltrie