By Terrell Munford, Glendale Eversley and Benjamin Shinault
RIDER volleyball hosted two matches this weekend against Niagara on Oct. 7 and Canisius on Oct. 8. Rider went on to sweep the Purple Eagles 3-0, but did not have the same luck against Canisius the following day, losing 3-2 to now sit at 4-4 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play.
Rider and Niagara fought it out as the first set concluded with a final score of 25-20. The Broncs, during the short break, figured out how to handle Niagara’s attack, as they won the second set 25-16 and put the Purple Eagles on their heels. With all the momentum on the Broncs side of the net, they closed out the third set with a win, slipping by with a final score of 25-22.
Rider led in every category in the game, as it ended with a total of 48 kills compared to Niagara’s 45, sophomore outside hitter Kiannisha Santiago shining with 11 kills.
With the attack, Rider maintained a great pace with only nine errors in the game, while Niagara had 18 and the Broncs took full advantage of it during the match.
Tori Schrader, a senior outside hitter, said the team “knew what [they] needed to do and the defense needed to play and win the defensive battle,” Shrader said. “The staff is very encouraging, they want us to go after every single swing and serve to be and stay aggressive after every single point. … I think our confidence is up.”
On Oct. 8, Rider took on Canisius for the second game of the weekend, ultimately losing the match 3-2 and dropping the Broncs to 5-11 on the season. “I think everybody has to take a look at how they’re prepping for games, and ‘What am I doing within the game to make sure that I’m on the same page with my teammates even with my energy and body language,’” Head Coach Jeff Rotondo said.
The opening sets belonged to the Golden Griffins. The Broncs began with a 5-3 lead, but Canisius went on a 7-1 run to retake the lead. With a 10-8 lead, the Griffs pulled away with an 8-1 run.
The Broncs led 4-2 in the second set, but Canisius scored six straight points. Up 12-9, Canisius went on a 5-0 run, and the Broncs never countered
The tide turned as Rider regained control in the third set. With a 9-7 cushion, Rider went on a 8-1 run, including a pair of aces from junior setter Ryley Frye and freshman outside hitter Paige Giehtbrock. With a commanding 21-17 lead, she had three kills during a 4-0 run to close out the set.
With a 7-4 lead in set four, Canisius went on a 7-0 run. Down 13-10, Rider countered with a 5-0 run, including a pair of aces from Frye. Rider pulled away with another 5-0 run, this time capped off by an ace from freshman libero and defensive specialist Carly Zimmet. Rider took the set 25-18.
The fifth set was back and forth with 10 ties and five lead changes. Down 9-7, Rider went on a 4-0 run, including a Frye ace. Rider eventually earned a 15-14 lead, but the Griffs with a roaring three straight points changed the match, giving Canisius the victory.
Sophomore libero Keegan O’Connor said that the team should have come out with more energy during the match.
“There was a hole in the middle of the court and they were using it and swinging away. I think they’re aggression was good,” said O’Connor.
The Broncs now hit the road as they will travel to Connecticut for a match against Fairfield on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.