Broncs win twice at Greyhound Challenge
Rider University 3 Morgan State 1
Rider University 3 Charleston Southern 1
at Marriott Greyhound Challenge
BALTIMORE, Md.--The Rider University volleyball team won twice on Saturday at the Marriott Greyhound Challenge, hosted by Loyola University Maryland to place runner-up in the two-day tournament.
Rider won over Morgan State 25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19 and posted an 18-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-19 win over Charleston Southern to go 2-1 on the weekend after losing a heart breaker to Loyola Maryland Friday evening 3-2.
"With the tough loss last night, the team really impressed me with how they came prepared to play," said head coach Christopher Feliciano. "We stuck together and played as a team; that is a tough thing to do, winning twice on the road."
This is Rider's best start since 2003 when the Broncs also went 6-3 in the first nine matches of the season.
"I think the mistake we made last season was that we set some unrealistic goals," Feliciano said. "We are working this season on setting small, realistic and smart goals. We've already surpassed some of them and have moved forward and set some more. I think that will help them develop confidence. This group works tremendously hard."
For the tournament, junior Bridget Sheerin (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) averaged 2.23 kills and 1.92 digs per set with senior captain Stephanie Nagy Muscatine, Iowa/Muscatine) averaging 2.38 kills per set to go along with eight blocks as each earned all-tournament honors.
"Both played phenomenal," Feliciano said about the all-tournament selections. "They both did different things well. Bridget played the block well and found the court well when we got out of system and Stephanie did a great job hitting the 'slide' and finding open areas on the court."
Against Morgan State, sophomore Kayla Wong (Tustin, Calif./Arnold O. Beckman) had 12 kills and seven digs, Sheerin had 11 digs and eight kills, sophomore Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) had 47 assists and seven digs and senior captain Brittany Gajewski (Whitehouse Station/Hunterdon Central Regional) had 21 digs.
"Things went well this weekend," said Sheerin. "I thought we played really well together as a team. After the tough match last night, we just focused that it was a new day and went from there. I'm excited to earn all-tournament, it shows how well the team played."
Nagy had 13 kills and hit .370 against the Bears.
Morgan State out-hit the Broncs .216 to .204.
Against Charleston Southern, Rider dropped the opening set before rallying for the win.
For the Broncs, Gajewski had 24 digs and now has 904 in her career with Amatulli adding 36 assists and 18 digs. Gajewski is the reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Libero of the Week after a 40 dig effort against Fairleigh Dickinson on August 29. Gajewski is averaging 4.95 digs per set and has had at least 15 digs in eight of nine matches this season.
Nagy had 12 kills and Wong added 11 kills for Rider against the Buccaneers with sophomore Jaclyn Webber (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) adding a 'double-double' of 10 digs and 10 kills to go along with four blocks.
Rider out-hit CSU .237 to .132.
After three wins in 2009, five wins in 2010 and five wins in 2011, Rider has already exceeded those win totals, nine matches into the 2012 season.
"We are focused on the little things and doing this one match at a time," Sheerin added. "We're working hard on our blocking and our defense and setting small goals for ourselves and then building on that."
Rider is on its third two-match winning streak of the season.
The Broncs travel to La Salle University Wednesday evening.