Rider falls in MAAC games, adding to losing record

Junior middle/outside hitter Brittany Hayes attempts to slam the ball across the net in Rider’s 3-0 conference loss to Marist last Saturday.By RJ Barkelew

The Rider volleyball team continued with its conference schedule this past weekend in hopes of improving its MAAC record, but things did not go as planned.

The first game of the weekend pitted the team against the Marist Red Foxes. Despite the high hopes of Rider, the team fell to Marist (8-12, 3-4 MAAC) in straight sets 25-14, 25-15, 25-14.

For Rider (8-10, 1-7 MAAC), sophomore Amanda Piccolini had 19 assists and sophomore Kristy Love had seven kills and three blocks.

In the opening set, Rider jumped out to a 4-3 lead before the Red Foxes countered with a 5-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. Then a 12-5 run clinched the set for Marist by 11 points. The second set saw the Red Foxes serve seven aces for a 10-point win. Rider led 6-5 before a 5-0 run turned the set in the Red Foxes’ favor. The Broncs closed within two points midway through the set before Marist rallied to put the set away.

“We just didn’t communicate,” Head Coach Emily Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “We could do nothing right and Marist could do nothing wrong.”

Rider has won 12 of 22 matches against the Red Foxes, but Marist has won four straight dating back to the 2006 season.

The team continued its conference schedule Sunday afternoon, hosting the St. Peter’s College Peahens. In the battle of the Garden State, Rider lost a five set heartbreaker to Saint Peter’s.

“We out-hit them, out-dug them, and out-blocked them and still lost,” Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “We made too many errors in the fifth game and that cost us.”

The Peahens won 27-25, 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, and 15-12 in a match that featured 36 ties and 16 lead changes. For Rider, Piccolini had a career high 62 assists to go along with 14 digs, one of three Broncs to produce a double-double.

Rider out hit the Peahens (10-11, 5-3 MAAC) .166 to .161. The teams combined for 261 digs in a two hour match and the Peahens had four players with 20 or more digs. The Broncs entered the match having won 10 of 11 sets that were decided by two points before dropping two (27-25, 25-23) in their match against the Peahens.

The first set saw St. Peter’s jump out to a 5-0 run to start the match. The Peahens maintained that lead (20-15) before Rider stormed back to tie the game at 20-20. Rider led 25-24 before the Peahens used a 3-0 run (two kills and an ace) to take the set by two, 27-25.

Trailing 7-4 in the second set, Rider rallied with a 6-2 run to take a one-point lead. Following a 4-0 Bronc run, Rider led 14-10. St. Peter’s fought back to come within a point but Rider quickly put them away to win the set 25-20.

St. Peter’s has won 17 of the 29 matches in the all-time series including the last eight in a row.

“You use the repeat matches in the conference as a measuring stick,” Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “I was happy that we improved from the last time we played Saint Peter’s and I expect that we will continue to improve.”

The Broncs have now lost four straight, but look to halt that skid when they play conference rivals Niagara and Canisius this weekend.

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