Rider University at Bucknell Invitational
Rider University 3, Fairleigh Dickinson 0
Bucknell University 3, Rider University 1
Kaitlyn Griffin All-Tournament
LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Rider University volleyball team competed against Fairleigh Dickinson and the host Bison of Bucknell, splitting two matches on Saturday afternoon at the Bucknell Invitational.
The Broncs started the tournament with an afternoon slate against Fairleigh Dickinson, where Rider (8-2) swept the Knights, 25-19, 25-18, and 25-12.
“We executed very well,” head coach Chris Feliciano said about his teams opening tournament win. “FDU played much better than they did the first time we played them in their gym. I thought game one, offensively, we were outstanding.”
The Broncs faced Fairleigh Dickinson on September 4, defeating the Knights 25-18, 25-11, 25-19.
Against FDU on Saturday, freshman middle hitter Kaitlyn Griffin (Chesapeake, Va./Hickory) had seven kills, hitting for .500 for the match and after compiling 20 kills and three digs, hitting .368 against Bucknell, she was named to the All-Tournament team, her second All-Tournament honor of the season.
Freshman outside hitter Ryan Ackermann (Leesburg, Va./Stone Bridge) finished the match attacking .318 with nine kills.
Junior outside hitter Jaclyn Webber (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) had eight kills and hit .467 in the match. Webber also added 11 digs.
Junior Kayla Wong finished match one with nine kills and one assist, hitting .316 in the opener.
Freshman defensive specialist Alaina Piszczek (Sinking Spring, Pa./Berks Catholic) and junior setter Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) each had 10 digs apiece. Amatulli also added 20 assists while sophomore setter Brandie Hill (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) finished the first match with 14 assists and three service aces.
“I’d like to see our defense play a little better, more consistent and picking up the ball, but overall it was a great match for us to go to 8-1,” Feliciano said.
In the nightcap, the Broncs lost to Bucknell, 28-26, 25-16, 21-25 and 25-22 in a match that featured 34 ties and 12 lead changes as Rider saw its seven-match winning streak snapped.
“We gave Bucknell too much of a lead in game one, and that kind of dictated what the outcome of the match was going to be,” Feliciano said. “We were down by four and then we came back and we were poised to steal a set and they sided out three set points and the end result was what you saw in set two where we didn’t play well. We weren’t focused.”
“I thought we played probably one of the better sets of the year,” Feliciano said about his team against Bucknell in the third set. “We were poised to start a comeback and we went point-for-point in set four, but we had too many mental lapses that gave away the set and the match.”
Ackermann finished with 11 kills and 8 digs while Webber 14 digs of her own.
Amatulli finished with 25 assists.
“We’ve got a mixture in age,” Feliciano said about his team. “I thought Bucknell was a very good team. I thought that we matched up very well with them. Last year we were learning how to win matches. Now we’re learning how to win matches against some very good opponents. I’m very proud of the team for the effort they put forward. We know that we need to work on little mental things and not having the jitters and being able to play under pressure as we continue to build this great program.”
Rider returns home next weekend to take on Niagara on Saturday, September 21 at 1 p.m. in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference match.
“The team should feel good about themselves even though we lost today,” Feliciano said. “The scores outside of set two were great. We have momentum behind us. We have this belief that we’re doing the right things. We’re excited to play MAAC opponents and for the first time in a very long time we are above .500 as we get ready to play in the conference.”