By Mike Shareshian
Despite a riveting match that went to five sets, the volleyball team ended up going 0-2 against Fairfield and Manhattan over the weekend, leaving them at 1-10 for the season and 0-2 against MAAC opponents.
The Sept. 19 match versus Fairfield (3-9 overall, 2-0 MAAC) ended quickly compared to the nail-biter that took place the previous day at Alumni Gym. The Broncs lost in straight sets: 25-18, 19-17, 25-7, leaving Rider with only five victories in 21 competitions against Fairfield volleyball.
Senior Kristy Love led the Broncs with five kills and sophomore Haley Wilson showcased her abilities with 13 digs. One bright spot for the Broncs was their defensive play, putting up four blocks while their opponent recorded just one.
Saturday’s match against Manhattan (5-5 overall, 1-0 MAAC) was an endurance test that lasted for more than two hours. Manhattan quickly put Rider down two sets to none heading into the break. After the two sides went into the locker room to regroup, head coach Emily Alquist’s team came out determined and unwilling to head home so quickly.
“Since day one of this season I have had high expectations for this team because we have so much talent,” Love said. “Fighting back to win sets three and four shows that we wouldn’t let them close the door on us. We were down for three set points in set three when they could have taken the match, but we played all out with a refuse-to-lose attitude.”
Love made 17 of Rider’s 54 kills. As a senior in high school, Love was Pittsford Southerland High School’s Player of the Year and has since gone on to become Rider’s captain.
The third set saw Rider record 13 kills compared to Manhattan’s 18, but Rider was able to prolong the game nonetheless, finishing with a score of 29-27. The Broncs were able to stay alive thanks to a fourth set that saw only two errors compared to Manhattan’s four. Rider would go on to win 25-20 to set the stage for a dramatic conclusion.
Graduate student Alex Chapla supplemented Love’s team-leading kill count with 10 of her own and senior Elyse Grassmuch put 26 digs into the scorebook.
Adding to the stellar Bronc defense was senior Amanda Piccolini, who contributed 16 digs. Rider’s front line put up 11 blocks while Manhattan could only manage six.
The match was evened up
an amazing 31 times, 11 of which came in the third set alone. But, it was Fairfield that would eventually close out the game with a 15-13 fifth set. The first four saw scores of 25-19, 25-13, 27-29 and 20-25.
The Bronc volleyball team won’t return to Alumni Gym until Sunday, Oct. 3, when they will take on Siena at 1 p.m. The next three matches will be on the road and will all take place in New York, beginning with Niagara (6-8 overall, 1-1 MAAC) Saturday and a match versus Canisius (6-8 overall, 2-0 MAAC) in Buffalo on Sunday.
“Canisius and Niagara are always competitive games for us,” said Love. “We are ready for that change of scenery.”