Lafayette 3 Rider 1/Lehigh 3 Rider 1

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: August 26, 2012
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Kayla Wong
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)

College Volleyball
Lafayette College 3, Rider University 1
Lehigh University 3, Rider University 1

EASTON/BETHLEHEM, Pa.--The Rider University volleyball team lost twice at Lafayette and Lehigh Sunday afternoon.

In the opener against the Leopards, Rider lost 25-22, 25-18, 16-25, 25-20.

"I think we gave Lafayette the win today," said head coach Christopher Feliciano.  "Not taking anything away from them but we gave away some points and we lost the match, more so than them winning it.  We made critical errors at the wrong time."

For Rider (2-2), sophomore Kayla Wong (Tustin, Calif./Arnold O. Beckman) had 11 kills, six digs and two service aces, accounting for 13,5 points with sophomore Jaclyn Webber (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) adding 17.5 points with a 14 kill, seven dig effort.

Sophomore Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) had 24 assists with senior Brittany Gajewski (Whitehouse Station/Hunterdon Central Regional) compiling 16 digs.

Rider was out-hit .290 to .216 in the opener.

"In the fourth set tied at 18, we made four errors in a row and gave away the set," Feliciano added.  "We beat ourselves in the first match.  Lafayette is a good team but we made them look great."

The match featured 25 ties, including 14 in the fourth and deciding set to go along with six lead changes, four in the final set.

Rider leads the all-time series 22-14 against the Leopards with the last Bronc win coming in 2008.  Lafayette defeated Rider 3-0 in 2011 and 3-0 in 2009, both matches in Easton.  The 3-1 Rider win in 2008 came during the La Salle Invitational in Philadelphia.

In the nightcap at Lehigh, the Broncs lost in four sets 25-16, 25-17, 24-26, 25-21, despite a 'double-double' from Wong (12 kills, 10 digs).

"Kayla has progressed and developed very well," said Feliciano.  "By her playing the back row, it opens up other things for us and makes the team more versatile.  She is doing a nice job.  We challenged everyone to get better over the summer and everyone came back ready to perform at a top level.  Kayla had more of a complete first match (offense, defense, serve receive) and we need her to trust her offensively abilities just a little more."

Amatulli also had a 'double-double' with 15 assists and 10 digs with Gajewski adding 20 digs and freshman Alexa Becker (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge) compiling 10 digs.

"Alexa was exceptional, especially defensively," said Feliciano.  "She was all over the floor and I was really proud of her efforts, working through her first collegiate weekend.  You can't ask for anything more from a freshman."

Rider was out-hit .210 to .158 by the Mountain Hawks.

"One of our struggles is learning how to play with a lead," Feliciano said.  "We slowly let Lehigh back in the match.  With that said, we are playing better and there were a lot of positives from the weekend."

The match featured 11 ties and seven lead changes.

Rider has won 10 of 32 matches all-time against Lehigh with the last Bronc victory (3-0) coming in the 2004 season opener 30-26, 30-13, 30-25.  The Mountain Hawks defeated Rider 3-0 in 2011 in Lawrenceville and 3-0 in 2009 in Bethlehem.  Lehigh also defeated the Broncs 3-2 in 2005 (30-28, 28-30, 30-24, 23-30, 15-13) at the Wildcat Invitational, hosted by Villanova University.

"What I love about this group is that there is no quit," said Feliciano.  "In both matches, we were down 2-0 and could have very easily folded and didn't.  I'm pleased with that effort."

Rider hosts Fairleigh Dickinson University on Wednesday at 6pm in the Student Recreation Center on the Lawrenceville campus.

"Our preparation will be fixing the little things that we did wrong in all of the matches this weekend," Feliciano added.  "It is hard to play four matches in three days, on multiple and difference surfaces and I'm proud of the way all 18 players have come together as a group.  The players are not happy to have lost two in a row but there are so many positives to take out of the first four matches this season and we will continue to work hard heading into our next match.  I'm thankful for what the team has done so far."


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