Setting up the MAAC season by serving up a win
By Brian Sommer
The Broncs played five games this past week, managing a 3-2 record, including a victory over St. Peter’s, which was the first in-conference game for Rider this year.
The Broncs’ (6-7, 1-0 MAAC) first MAAC home match of the year against St. Peter’s (2-7, 0-1 MAAC) turned out to be a special one. Not only did Rider defeat the Peacocks, but senior outside hitter Jaclyn Webber produced 10 kills and seven digs, leading to her 1000th career point as a Bronc.
“My setters are absolutely who I give credit to,” Webber said. “I was so happy and fortunate to get it at home so I could celebrate. I have one of the best families in the world both at home and in my team.”
The Broncs won 25-20, 25-16, 25-16. It was a team effort for Rider, as sophomore outside hitter Ryan Ackermann added in 12 kills, four blocks, and three service aces of her own. Ackerman and Webber both helped limit Peacocks junior right side hitter Lauren Behrens, who was named MAAC Player of the Week on Sept. 15.
Broncs freshman defensive specialist Emma Aldaya continued to play at a high level with 12 digs and two assists. Aldaya believes the team will continue its winning ways in conference play.
“We are very focused on the upcoming matches and if we continue our hard work I think we can produce some good results this weekend,” Aldaya said.
Following the victory against Saint Peter’s Sept. 17, the Broncs competed in the Best Western Wild Weekend Invitational in Maryland and bounced back after two straight losses by winning back-to-back matches.
The first match for Rider in the invitational was against Maryland Eastern Shore University (7-7) and the Broncs fell short, three sets to one. The final box score read, 25-17, 25-19, 27-25, 25-8.
For the second match, the Broncs took on Campbell University (8-7) and fell short three to one, Rider lost 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18.
“[The tournament] could not have gone better,” said Webber “We wanted to learn how to fight out of tough spots and we did just that.”
The following day, Rider dominated the court winning both matches against Binghamton (1-14) 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 33-31 and taking the match over Bethune-Cookman (2-12) 25-18, 24-26, 25-20, 25-22.
Against the Binghamton Bearcats, the Broncs were fueled by MAAC Rookie of the Year of 2013, Kaitlyn Griffin. The sophomore racked up 21 kills to pace the Broncs offensive attack.
With the tough non-conference play behind them, the Broncs, deemed ready to meet their goals, have their sights set on the MAAC title.
“With a strong sense of faith and heart, together with these two qualities, we can accomplish our goals,” said Aldaya.