Volleyball team clinches first conference victory

Senior Lindsay Brant assists the Broncs in their first conference victory, with a 3-1 win over conference-rival Niagara.By Michael Mack

The Rider volleyball team has had a successful first half of the season, earning itself an 8-6 winning record overall and its first conference win.

The team played two MAAC matches at home this past weekend, breaking a three-game losing streak against the Purple Eagles of Niagara on Sunday.

The first set of the match went to Niagara by a score of 25-22. The Broncs then trailed 17-11 in the second set before going on a 13-3 run and eventually winning the set by a score of 25-22.

The Broncs kept the momentum going and held off a comeback in the third set to win by a score of 25-21. The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle that saw seven ties and three lead changes. The Broncs eventually mounted a 9-3 run to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.

“The first set, the teams were kind of feeling each other out,” Head Coach Emily Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “We were trying to get the matchups we needed and by the second set, we were better able to do that. Overall it was a typical MAAC match, winning by three, four and three. I would be surprised, league-wide, if most of the sets weren’t that close. Every match in the league is a battle, top to bottom.”

Senior Lacey Johnson shined with 13 digs and 11 kills, getting her the 23rd double-double of her career and second in the two days.

“This was an important match and Lacey stepped up,” Ahlquist said. “Lacey had a solid, consistent weekend. She does so many things for us that don’t show up in the box score.”

Sophomore Elyse Grassmuck racked up 39 assists in the four sets, matching the second-highest total of her career. Junior Amy Jeary put up an impressive 22 digs to assist Rider in its win.
The day before, the Broncs fell in another MAAC game to Canisius 3-0.

The Broncs had an early 11-8 lead in the first set. After that, however, things went downhill. The Griffins went on a 7-0 run and went on to win the set 25-19.
Canisius held the momentum and won the next two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-16, respectively.

“It was one of those matches, we had a couple of calls not go our way and we really just weren’t consistent the entire match,” Ahlquist said to Rider Sports Information. “A few plays here and there and the match could have gone five sets.”

Despite losing in straight sets, Johnson managed to put on a sparkling performance, racking up her 22nd career double-double with 14 digs and 12 kills. Jeary also put up 22 digs in the Broncs’ defeat.

After the split over the weekend, the Broncs now hold a 1-3 record in conference play. However, goals are still high as there are plenty of conference games left to play.
The Broncs will continue their conference schedule at home tomorrow against the Iona Gaels and against the Saints of Siena on Sunday.

“We went five sets with Iona last season, so we are expecting a tough but exciting match,” Grassmuck said to Rider Sports Information. “Siena is also a good team and we will have to step up our game and play with energy in order to be successful.”

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