By Christina LoBrutto
Last weekend was action-packed for the volleyball team, as it lost to the Manhattan Jaspers on Saturday and the Siena Saints on Sunday.
Saturday’s match was the conference season opener for both Rider and Manhattan. After falling behind the Jaspers two sets to none, the Broncs rallied to tie the match, but fell short in the last set.
The Jaspers won the first two sets, with scores of 25-19 and 25-23. The Broncs followed with 25-23 and 25-12 victories, and finally a 15-9 defeat. The 3-2 loss for the Broncs was an improvement after being swept in three matches the previous weekend.
Rider ended the fourth set on a 7-0 run, with junior Kristy Love’s two kills forcing the fifth set. Love had 12 kills overall.
“After being down two sets to none we knew we had to go into set three with more intensity and pride,” Love explained.
“[Manhattan] had one great hitter/blocker who was hard to stop. We played closer to our potential when we beat them by close to 15 points. That set was Rider volleyball. We are all pumped to get back to it this Saturday.”
Also for the Broncs, junior Elyse Grassmuck had 43 assists, 12 digs, and four blocks. Junior Katelyn Thompson had 21 kills and 12 digs in the match.
“I thought I did a good job of finding Katelyn, who was the hot hitter that game,” Grassmuck said. “She did a great job putting the ball away. I also kept a fast tempo going on our side of the net and put the ball where the hitters needed it to score. You can thank our passers for my success.”
Sunday proved to be a step backward for the Broncs, as they lost their fifth match in a row. Siena swept 25-22, 25-12, 25-18.
“I think that we did a good job at keeping a high level of play and staying energized. We just couldn’t pull off the win this week, but we will get another chance at home,” Thompson said.
Rider trailed 18-10 in the third set, before going on a 6-0 run to get within two points. Contributing to this run was freshman Stephanie Nagy, who finished with five blocks.
“The team was disappointed we didn’t walk away with a win, but we’re trying to look at the positives,” Nagy said. “We gave drastically less free points to the opponent, such as service errors. Every weekend the team improves, but we realize we need to step up our game to the next level.”
Grassmuck added, “As a team, we should really start focusing on pulling out our ‘go for the throat’ nature. We had Manhattan and the win in our hands and let it slip away. We need to not let losing be an option.”
Rider hosts Loyola (MD) on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.