By Dylan Manfre
Rider volleyball entered a pivotal stretch of games that can determine who it will face in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament later in November. The final six-game stretch began with a 3-2 loss to Marist on Oct. 30 and a spooky matchup against in a 3-1 victory over Siena on Halloween.
Rider and Marist ended today’s match with the same amount of sets, just a different result. It was Marist who got the 3-2 victory on its home floor in a lengthy five sets.
Broncs Head Coach Jeff Rotondo said that Rider was its own worst enemy in the match.
“Certain aspects of our defense or our passing let us down today,” Rotondo said. “That was the main component of it.”
He also described the communication and technique as sloppy.
Rider and Marist traded points in the opening set but it had a solid cushion to work with. But Marist was always on Rider’s tails. The Broncs were the first to 10 points, 15 and eventually, won the first set 25-14.
Senior middle hitter Caprice Clarke had five blocks in the opening set which was the most of either team. Clarke ended the game with a program record of 14 blocks in a single match.
Junior opposite hitter Morgan Romano led the Broncs with six kills on eight attempts and committed zero errors.
Chan had a solid second set for the Broncs helping her team get out to an early lead. She is third on the team in kills per set with 2.79.
Marist trailed for most of the set, but it still showed a great deal of composure and fight. The Red Foxes eventually tied it but Rider regained a 15-14 lead at the second set media timeout. Before they knew it, the Broncs were down 18-16 after Rotondo took a timeout.
Rider ended up tying the set at 21 out of the timeout but quality serves helped Marist tie the match at one-all.
Marist had an early lead in set three forcing Rider to take another timeout. It was the first time Marist took a true early lead in the match.
Romano kept Rider in this match with 12 kills and six digs. The Broncs were back to challenge Marist the third set, keeping close, tying the set at 15 but after that, it was all Marist. Marist took it 25-20.
The next two sets were a battle. Rider regained its footing in the fourth and won 24-15 but lost an intense fifth set 15-13.
Romano ended the match with 24 kills on 51 total attacks. Chan followed her up with 15 kills.
She said the Broncs may have gotten in their head a bit because they were thinking about the standings.
“This was a huge game for us this weekend because we were second in the MAAC rankings and Marist was third,” Romano said. “Depending on whatever happened in that game it was going to switch [the standing]. I think that was in the back of everyone’s head.”
The Broncs got back to their winning ways against Siena in a 3-1 victory to end the two-game road trip.
After dropping the first set 25-20, Rider rattled off three-set victories to secure the match. Romano led the way with 26 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Tori Schrader, who returned to the lineup after missing the Marist game because she was “banged up,” according to Rotondo, had nine kills in the match.
Sher led the team in assists with 47 and digs with 14.