By Glendale Eversley and Terrell Munford
The Broncs ventured to Connecticut to face two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rivals: the Fairfield Stags on Oct. 14 and the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Oct. 15.
Rider ultimately finished the weekend not being able to win a single set, sinking their record down to 5-14 on Oct. 16.
During the first two sets of their matchup Rider played against Fairfeld, the Stags earned two wins.
Rider came into Fairfeld’s homecourt at the start of the game with a 4-0 run that made things interesting, the Stags responding by quickly tying the set at 7-7.
With Rider leading 17-16, Fairfield scored five-straight points and took the opening set.
Throughout the match, it was a back-and-forth affair as neither team could gain an edge during the second set. Toward the end of the second set, the game was tied 23-23, but Fairfield responded with two consecutive points to extend their lead in the match.
Fairfield carried the momentum into the third set, opening with an 11-0 run with the Broncs unable to recover.As the third and last set of the contest ended, Rider lost their momentum, losing the set 25-15 to close things out.
“I think it was more of a mentally lapse on our end,” Coach Jeff Rotondo said about the final set.
After the tough loss, middle hitter freshman Molly Rohde remained positive.
“With this loss, nothing carried over as we are team does a really great job of closing out saturday was that day and now Sunday is a new day, as we just hit that reset button and go on to the next.”
On Oct. 15, Rider hosted Quinnipiac, the second match of a two game road trip. The Broncs fell to the Bobcats 3-0, with the loss placing Rider at 5-13 overall and 4-6 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play.
In the opening set, Quinnipiac didn’t waste any time as they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. Up 7-4, The Bobcats went on another authoritative 5-0 run. Down a score 23-17, the Broncs fought back, scoring four-straight, which included an ace from freshman outside hitter Paige Giehtbrock, but ultimately the Bobcats would close out the set with two consecutive points.
In set two, junior setter Ryley Frye opened with a pair of aces, helping the Broncs take an early 3-0 lead. The lead would not withstand as the Bobcats regained control, going on a 4-0 run and the set would remain tight until, leading 8-7, Quinnipiac went on a roaring 5-1 run. Leading 20-16, Quinnipiac would close out the set with five-straight points.
Tied at 2-2 in the third, Senior libero Molly Strah capped off a 5-0 run with an ace, but Quinnipiac answered with four straight points. Down 11-8, the Bobcats took the lead in the set with a 4-0 run. Notched 20-20, the Bobcats closed out the set with a 5-0 run to walk away with the win.
“There were moments that our offense went cute instead of aggressive, if we would have taken the approach of it being a home run hitter instead of letting go up for a bunt, I think in certain situations we would’ve had more success,” said Rotondo on the missed opportunities that his team could have capitalized on.
Freshman middle hitter Molly Rhode said,“ We are usually an aggressive team and a team that usually swings for everything. We were a little bit relaxed on that on Sunday, I don’t think we took the opportunities that were given to us.”
The Broncs will hit the road in their next matchup against the Temple Owls in Philadelphia on Oct. 18. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m.