Volleyball second in MAAC after back-to-back wins

By Logan VanDine

The Rider volleyball team got back in the win column with back-to-back wins over Columbia on Oct. 20, and Saint Peter’s on Oct. 23. The Broncs bested Columbia 3-1 and won in straight sets against Saint Peter’s 3-0. Rider now sits in second place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) with a record of 10-3. With six games left, the Broncs look to go on a hot streak to end the regular season.

Game 1

The women’s volleyball team took down the Columbia Lions in four sets as they moved above .500 on the season with their away victory on Oct. 20.

The Broncs took the first two sets by a score of 25-23. The Lions responded in the third set, wining 25-14, but they could not get the match even as the Broncs won the fourth set 25-21, winning the match 3-1 and improving to 11-10 on the season.

“Overall I think we played pretty well. It’s a tough trip going up to New York … it was a little bit backwards because we didn’t know the Ivy League Conference does their warmups differently, so we didn’t get to warm up like we normally would,” Head Coach Jeffrey Rotondo said.

He added, “[The]first two sets we were able to get a 2-0 lead, some close sets; you know Columbia gets really athletic. They have a lot of good athletes on that team, and we were able to hold off their offense just enough to win the first two sets.”  

Junior opposite hitter Morgan Romano was a force to be reckoned with, as she led the team with 13 kills and seven blocks, getting her team to 11-10 on the season.

It was the 17th time this season that Romano led her team in kills.

“Morgan being confident in herself is huge, and I think it’s good for her to do that in tight situations where we know that teams are keying on her. She still finds a way to get that point to block a hits a small window, so it’s great. Morgan is doing a really good job, and she’s also doing a really good job on the serve line for us too,” Rontondo said.

Romano also talked about what it means to her to lead her team in kills.

“It’s kind of motivating for me. Being a leader in aspects like kills and all the younger hitters seeing that makes it good for me to do that and for them. I want them to be able to see what I can do and that they can do it too, and I want to be like a role model to them,” Romano said.

Game 2

After a couple of days off, the team headed north to Saint Peter’s to take on the Peacocks and made quick work of them, sweeping the match 3-0 on Oct. 23.

The Broncs dominated Saint Peter’s taking the first set by a score of 25-17.

The Peacocks made the second match a lot more competitive. Starting with a 7-0 run and a 9-3 lead, the Broncs were able to come back and take the second set by a score of 26-24, before winning the third set easily 25-14, moving to 12-10 on the season.

Despite the Broncs sweeping the match 3-0, Rotondo still was not that pleased with his team’s efforts.

“I was pleased with the first and third set. I think the second set we didn’t play aggressive enough. It was allowing Saint Peter’s to kind of hang around a little bit in that second set,” Rotondo said.

“This is something that has popped up against other teams like a Niagara or a Canisius or even a Fairfield where we have a lead and we didn’t hold it, we found ways to let teams back in, and it comes back to bite us, and I made a point about that last night,” Rotondo continued.

Romano, who again led her team in kills with 15, gave her overall assessment of her team’s win against the Peacocks.

“We had the same mindset to go in, get the work done and get out. We just had to go in there and play our game and control what we can control, and I think we did a really good job getting a road sweep,” said Romano.

The volleyball team is now 12-10 on the season after an 0-7 start.

“We do try to schedule tough competition in preseason with Villanova and Temple and going out to Grand Canyon and seeing Western Carolina and Grand Canyon University and Villanova again out there,” said Rotondo. “We did try to schedule pretty tough on purpose so we would at least have some really difficult matches on purpose when we get to conference play.”

The Broncs now have plenty of time to prepare for their next match when they head to Poughkeepsie to play Marist on Oct. 30.     

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