Tulane University 3, Rider University 0
Rider University 3, Mississippi Valley State 0
Kathy Trosclair Memorial Tournament
Griffin All-Tournament Honors
NEW ORLEANS, La.—The Rider University volleyball team went 2-1 this weekend at the Kathy Trosclair Memorial Tournament, hosted by Tulane University.
On Saturday, Rider (2-1) split two matches, defeating Mississippi Valley State 3-0 (25-10, 25-20, 25-18) after falling to the host Green Wave of Tulane 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-14) in the first match on Saturday.
Rider defeated Nicholls State 3-0 on Friday evening in the 2013 opener.
For Rider in the nightcap, senior Bridget Sheerin (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) had 14 kills and hit .650 with freshman middle hitter Kaitlyn Griffin (Chesapeake, Va./Hickory) adding 10 kills and a .529 attack percentage. Griffin hit .488 for the weekend with 28 kills and six blocks in the three matches and earned Rider’s one spot on the All-Tournament team.
“Kaitlyn offensively was phenomenal,” said head coach Christopher Feliciano. “She is only going to get better as she gets more comfortable and she adjusts to the collegiate game. It is a shame that the tournament setup didn’t allow for more than one all-tournament selection because Bridget very much deserved it as well. In our minds, both Sheerin and Griffin are all-tournament.”
“My first collegiate week went amazing because of our teamwork,” said Griffin who is majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. “Playing with the team is so much fun and it was great to feel the support of everyone.”
Also for the Broncs against Mississippi Valley, sophomore setter Brandie Hill (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) had 24 assists and junior setter Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) added 18 assists with freshman Ryan Ackermann (Leesburg, Va./Stone Bridge) compiling 11 digs and seven kills.
“We played well in the second match and rebounded strong after the opening loss against Tulane,” said Feliciano. “We moved the ball around and controlled the ball well. I thought Alaina Piszczek (Sinking Spring, Pa./Berks Catholic) played a nice match, making her first start at the Libero position.”
Piszczek, a freshman, had seven digs and two assists against Mississippi Valley State.
For the Broncs in the opener, Griffin had six kills and hit .500, accounting for 10.5 of the Rider offense while adding three service aces and three blocks. Amatulli compiled 15 assists and eight digs.
“I thought we were inconsistent with our ball control,” Feliciano said after the opening match. “We played out of system way too much and against a quality team like Tulane, you can’t just give away point after point like we did. We need to just go out and play and let our natural abilities take over.”
The Broncs trailed 17-5 in the second set against the Green Wave before winning 11 of the next 16 points before Tulane held on for the win.
“It was a hard match,” Feliciano added. “There were some let downs but we battled and didn’t give up. We kept going at it. I thought junior Jaclyn (Webber) and Ryan (Ackermann) passed very well in that set.”
Rider returns to New Jersey and travels to Fairleigh Dickinson September 4 for a 7 p.m. non-conference match.
“We have a nice group of veterans that will help the team bounce back and keep us headed in the right direction,” Feliciano added. “You need to understand that while we are a year older, we still have some youth in spots and we are still learning to win the matches we are ‘supposed to win’ on a consistent basis. We started three freshmen and a sophomore over the weekend. All wins are big for us as we develop our team identity.”
“Everyone played amazing,” Griffin added. “Everyone was cheering and having a great time win or lose. Everyone’s been getting better and this tournament was a great start to the season.”
The home opener is September 11 when the Broncs host La Salle at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium.
“We want to maintain and improve our consistency and work ethic,” Feliciano added. “When we have a good practice and we follow it with an ok practice that isn’t as sharp, that’s how we played today. You play the way your practice. We didn’t play well in the opener and rebounded with a strong effort in the second match. We need to have that type of intensity in all of our matches and that starts with being more consistent in practice, day in and day out.”