Rider University 3, Fairleigh Dickinson 2
LAWRENCEVILLE--The Rider University volleyball team jumped out to a two sets to none lead and held on for a five-set non-conference win over Fairleigh Dickinson University on Wednesday evening in the Student Recreation Center.
Rider (3-2) won 25-11, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 15-13 in a match that took two hours and six minutes and featured 24 ties and 14 lead changes.
"We followed the scouting report in sets one and two and then we panicked a little bit," said head coach Christopher Feliciano. "We allowed FDU back in the match. We could have and should have closed it out in set three."
For the Broncs, senior tri-captain Stephanie Nagy (Muscatine, Iowa/Muscatine) had 13 kills and hit .393, compiling 14.5 points with sophomore Jaclyn Webber (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) adding a 'double-double' of 16 kills and 12 digs.
"Stephanie had a pheonominal match," said Feliciano. "When she is in transition, she is good and when she is focused and engaged, she is very, very good. She is one of the top hitters in the conference."
"Our focus tonight was to get off to a fast start," said Nagy who is majoring in Biology. "We've been down two sets in previous matches so it was important to get the early lead."
Rider out-hit the Knights .192 to .133.
In the fifth and deciding set, FDU (1-4) had seven kills to four for Rider, but the Knights made seven errors and Rider added two service aces.
"The senior leadership took over in the fifth set," Feliciano said. "They stepped up, pulled the team together and we got the 'W'".
Tied at 10 in the final set, Rider scored three straight points, including a service ace by freshman Aspen Weber (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane). Weber led Rider with three service aces and added two digs in the match.
Leading 14-13, FDU made another attack error on the final play with Nagy adding her second block of the match to clinch the set.
"We just had to calm down and refocus in the fifth set," Nagy added. "As a captain, I try to lead by example and I tried to focus on my blocking tonight."
FDU entered play 1-3, having defeated Providence at the Hofstra Invitational this past weekend while losing to UC-Riverside, Hofstra and Marist.
Former Northeast Conference rivals, Rider and FDU have now met 40 times with the Broncs winning 18. Rider last won over the Knights in 2007 before tonight's match. Fairleigh Dickinson defeated Rider 3-1 at the Lafayette Tournament last season and edged out a 3-2 win at Stratis Arena in Hackensack.
"We are more focused on this year," Feliciano said about the series with FDU. "Yeah, I wanted to win tonight for my own reasons because we lost twice to them last year but the team focus is on what we can do better and improve on in 2012. We want to win for us."
Showing that steady improvement, Rider won for the third time in five matches in 2012 after not picking up its third win until the 11th match of the season in 2011.
Rider snapped a two-match losing streak.
After going 2-0 in the SRC, Rider returns to the newly renovated Alumni Gymnasium and hosts Providence on September 4 at 6pm.
"We'll be glad to get back into the gym," Feliciano said about having the preseason in the Student Recreation Center due to renovations. "The players are excited to get back into our 'home' facility and back into their locker room."