College Volleyball – Terrier Invitational
Rider University 3, New Jersey Inst. of Technology 0
Rider University 3, Saint Francis Brooklyn 0
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y.—The Rider University volleyball team went 3-0 this weekend at the Saint Francis Brooklyn Terrier Invitational, winning the final two matches on Saturday to take the tournament title.
Rider (6-1) won the opener over NJIT (25-18, 25-13, 25-20) and defeated the host Terriers of Saint Francis Brooklyn (25-18, 25-17, 25-17) in the nightcap.
“We are seeing the results of a well developed veteran group meshing together with a very talented freshmen class,” said head coach Christopher Feliciano, in his third season at Rider. “We’ve played some good matches but we also aren’t getting ahead of ourselves. We have talent and we have depth but there are many things we still have to work on that you can’t see on paper.”
Leading Rider in the tournament was the play of senior Bridget Sheerin (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) who averaged 3.20 kills per set and had a .450 attack percentage in the three matches.
“There was no all-tournament team or MVP but Sheerin would have been it,” said Feliciano. “She put up most valuable player like numbers and more importantly continues to provide strong leadership both on and off the court. She sees the floor very well and it is rare that she makes an unforced error or gets blocked. Her defense had improved to the point that I expect her to be one of the better right side hitters in the conference.”
Sheerin had four blocks in the three matches and had 34 points during the tournament.
“Bridget has been very much part of the culture change that was mandated when I arrived three years ago,” Feliciano said. “She is like having another coach on the floor and what she says resonates with her teammates. We as coaches can say things but sometimes the same message sticks better when it comes from one of your teammates.”
“The weekend went very well,” said Sheerin. “We worked together as a team and were able to get a lot of players involved. It felt awesome to have the team go out with a really determined mentality and succeed.”
For the Broncs in the opener, junior Kayla Wong (Tustin, Calif./Arnold O. Beckman) had nine kills, three digs and two blocks, hitting .364 with junior Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) adding 25 assists, seven digs, two service aces and a block.
Sophomore Brandie Hill (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) had 12 assists in the opener against the Highlanders with Bronc rookies Ryan Ackermann (Leesburg, Va./Stone Bridge) and Alaina Piszczek (Sinking Spring, Pa./Berks Catholic) each adding nine digs. Piszczek had three service aces against NJIT.
In the final match against the Terriers Saturday night, Ackermann had 14 kills and five digs, hitting .524 as Rider won 3-0.
Amatulli had 21 assists with Hill compiling 17 assists.
Sheerin, who had eight kills and two blocks in the opener, compiled nine kills and hit .667 against Saint Francis Brooklyn.
Rider had an attack percentage of .434 against the Terriers.
“This was a collective team effort,” Feliciano added.
Rider defeated Saint Francis Brooklyn in the 2011 and 2012 season openers and the Broncs have won 21 of 22 matches all-time in the series. Today was Rider’s first match against NJIT.
Rider defeated Howard University in four sets to open the tournament Friday.
After seven straight on the road and off to its best start since the NCAA Play-In teams from the 1994, 1995 and 1996 seasons, Rider hosts La Salle University on Wednesday evening in the 2013 home opener at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium.
“Wednesday night has to be business as usual,” said Feliciano. “We have to put the same performance out there that we’ve been doing so far this season. Obviously we want to do well in front of what is going to be a large crowd and quite simply we have to come home and take of business. We practice in Alumni Gym every day and by working hard in practice, we will continue the momentum and our success on the court.”