Rider University 3, Manhattan College 2
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Match
RIVERDALE, N.Y.—The Rider University volleyball team snapped a five-match losing streak, taking down second place Manhattan College on Sunday in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference match in New York.
Rider (11-8, 3-6 MAAC) jumped out to a two sets to none lead and held on for a 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-25, 15-6 win.
“We won a great opening set and that set the tone,” said head coach Christopher Feliciano. “The first set was a battle, we were down a few points and it went back and forth. We played composed and competed from the beginning of the match and I’m really proud of the effort. We took care of what we needed to on our side of the set. That was very important. We were effective running our system and we haven’t really done that in a while.”
The match had 19 ties and 11 lead changes.
For the Broncs in the Bronx, junior Jaclyn Webber (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) had 14 digs, 11 kills and four service aces, attacking .257 with freshman Kaitlyn Griffin (Chesapeake, Va./Hickory) compiling 13 kills, three digs and two blocks while attacking .462.
Junior Ashlee Amatulli (Menifee, Calif./Temecula Valley) had 28 assists and 15 digs, freshman Alaina Piszczek (Sinking Spring, Pa./Berks Catholic) had 15 digs, sophomore Nicole Moorman (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area HS) had 12 kills and five blocks and senior Meghan Bartsch (Cranford) had 11 assists.
“Griffin and Moorman played one heck of a match,” Feliciano said.
“Everyone played well and pitched in,” said Bartsch. “It feels good to get this win, heading into the match on Wednesday.”
Rider was out attacked .218 to .191 by Manhattan (14-9, 8-2 MAAC) but the Broncs had a .533 attack percentage in the fifth and final set to clinch the win.
“We just started off the match really strong, which is something we haven’t been doing,” said Bartsch. “We played aggressive. We swung tough and blocked well. Give credit to Manhattan, they came back and fought us but we came out as the aggressor in the fifth set and took it to them.”
After having only 10 service aces in the last three matches (all losses), the Broncs had 10 service aces in today’s match, including four in the final set.
“If we made a mistake, we brushed it off and moved on,” Bartsch said. “We just worried about the next point and that got us to the next level. We did a good job as a team of having each other’s backs.”
“When we’ve lost the last couple matches, our serving has not been aggressive,” Feliciano said. “We served tough and it was a great effort. We refused to lose today and I can’t say enough how proud I am of the team.”
This is only Rider’s sixth win all-time against the Jaspers in 30 matches but the second in a row. The Broncs defeated Manhattan 3-2 in Lawrenceville last season to split the conference series after the Jaspers won 3-0 in Riverdale.
Rider is now 1-1 in five-set matches this season after going 4-4 in five-set matches in 2012. This was Manhattan's ninth five-set match of the season with the Jaspers falling to 6-3 after today's match.
Rider matched its win total from last season with today’s victory with 10 matches remaining on the regular season schedule, including six at home.
“There were a lot of positives for the program today,” Feliciano added. “Having a chance to beat last year’s win total, being competitive and defeating the second place team in the conference, winning on the road, it was all important as we go after our goal to continue to build and eventually become a top four team and make the conference playoffs.”
Rider hosts Delaware State on Wednesday evening in Alumni Gymnasium at 7 p.m., in the final non-conference match of the season.
“In order to start a winning streak, you have to win one,” Feliciano said. “We did that and we are looking to take the momentum into Wednesday’s match and then on to our Buffalo, New York trip against Canisius and Niagara next weekend.”
“We love playing at home,” Bartsch added. “We are excited to come back to the gym and work hard this week in practice. We are looking forward to the non-conference match Wednesday before the Buffalo trip next weekend.”