Marist College 3, Rider University 1
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Match
LAWRENCEVILLE—Despite a late rally, the Rider University volleyball team lost in four sets to Marist College in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference match Saturday afternoon.
The Red Foxes won 25-10, 25-17, 18-25, 25-23.
“Marist is a great program,” said assistant coach Melissa Baccari. “We got down early and knew we had to battle back and fight and we did that. We started out thinking ourselves early on in the match and that led to the early deficit. We were passive. We had players looking to others to do the job instead of going after it and making a difference themselves.”
For Rider (10-6, 2-4 MAAC), junior setter Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) had 22 assists and nine digs with freshman libero Alaina Piszczek (Sinking Spring, Pa./Berks Catholic) compiling 23 digs and five assists.
“Setters do all the dirty work and don’t get the recognition,” Baccari said. “Not only is Ashlee excellent at her position, she also keeps the hitters in line and the passers where they need to be. Setters don’t get the credit for the pretty plays that end a rally. Hard work and hustle from the setters, when pass-receive wasn’t working well is what got us back into today’s match.”
Amatulli has 1,796 assists, fifth best all-time at Rider, passing Erica West who had 1,777 assists from 2000-2003.
Sophomore Brandie Hill (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) had 12 assists and 11 digs for the Broncs.
Marist won the opening two sets, making only six errors before Rider responded with a 25-18 victory in set three, behind seven kills and three digs from Ackermann and six assists from Amatulli.
Rider trailed set four by a 21-14 score before an 8-2 run brought the Broncs to within 23-22. Marist won two of the final three points for the final score.
“The first and second set, we were passive and not going after plays that we usually do,” Amatulli said. “We had a little pep talk in the locker room before the third set and came out fighting to do the best that we can do. Set four, we came all the way back and just lost the set. It was really sets one and two that got us behind the whole match.”
“Sets one and two, we were worried more about what was happening on the other side of the net,” said Baccari. “We lost focus on the jobs we needed to do on our side of the net. That resulted in some passive plays and lack of hustle. After the intermission, we were determined to just go out and play and you saw the change when we did that.”
Marist swept Rider last season 3-1 and 3-2.
Former Northeast Conference rivals, Rider has won 13 of the 33 matches all-time against Marist. The Red Foxes swept the Broncs by identical 3-1 scores in 2011. The Broncs defeated the Red Foxes in two out of three matches in 2010 including a 3-0 win in the MAAC Championship Tournament and a 3-2 win in Alumni Gym that saw the Broncs rally from two sets down.
Rider hosts Siena in a MAAC match on Sunday.
“Battling back is a positive,” Baccari added. “Our blocking picked up tremendously in the final two sets and the ability to fight though and play stronger defense is something we can bring into Sunday’s match. We need to take the effort that we put forth in the final two sets and bring that from the start against Siena.”
“We are looking to start strong and not be passive,” Amatulli said about the match coming up on Sunday. “We want to go at it and be aggressive every single point and if we make a mistake, it’s out of aggression.”