Rotondo’s debut season ends in quarterfinal

By Lauren Amour

The third-seeded volleyball team saw its season come to an end in a 3-1 loss to No. 6 Quinnipiac on Nov. 22 in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship Tournament.

The Broncs snapped their four-game winning streak against the Bobcats in their first-ever meeting between the conference rivals in the MAAC championship.

The third set was the only one the Broncs won, 25-17, preventing the sweep. The Broncs fell 25-16 in the first set, 25-18 in the second set, and 25-21 in the final set.

“First, congrats to Quinnipiac who played an excellent match,” Head Coach Jeff Rotondo said. “They were certainly the more disciplined and fearless team, and that is something we have to learn and improve upon. We just didn’t have the fight tonight we needed in the first and second sets.”

The match marked middle hitter Evelyn Shanefield, libero Rachelle Runyon, and outside hitter Alexa Shello’s last game of their collegiate careers, as they are all seniors. The Broncs were 45-27 in MAAC play during their four years on the team.

“My heart is heavy for the seniors right now with their college careers coming to an end too quickly, and I can’t thank them enough for their service to this program and to me in my first year here,” Rotondo said.

The future remains bright for the Broncs, as their young talent continued to shine.

Freshman opposite hitter Morgan Romano continued to be an asset for the Broncs with a match-high 24 kills, her tenth match of the season with 20 or more. She totaled 534 kills on the season, the most by a freshman in program history. 

Freshman middle hitter Morgan Koch contributed 10 kills and three block assists. She recorded 109 block assists on the season.

Sophomore setter Anilee Sher registered 44 assists on the match, the fifteenth time in which she has recorded 40 or more this season. She ended her sophomore campaign with 1,136 assists, the second-most in a single-season in program history.

Additionally, Rotondo announced that volleyball had signed five recruits for the 2020 season —  Jenna Amaro, Tori Schrader, Emma Notafrancesco, Katarina Tuerff and Lindsey Frambach. 

“We are very excited to announce our 2020 recruiting class, which is my first class as the head coach at Rider University,” Rotondo said. “Bringing in players who can not only compete at a high level, but also exhibit the character traits we want our teams to model was imperative. We are so pleased and excited about this class, because they are excellent students, are the type of humble and serving people we look for, and they can play the game at a high level,” he said.

Rotondo’s inagural season ended with a 15-16 overall record and a 12-6 record in MAAC play. 

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