Broncs open MAAC Championship play Friday against Siena

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: November 17, 2016
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Courtesy: Brian David Solomon (Rider University)

FAIRFIELD, CT - The Rider University volleyball team heads to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships November 18-20, hosted by Fairfield University.

Buoyed by a program-record third-place finish in the MAAC, the Broncs are making their second-straight MAAC Championship appearance after not having qualified for the tournament in a four or six-team conference playoffs since the 2004 season. The Broncs participated in the conference playoffs in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 when all teams qualified and played at Disney World in Florida.

On Friday, the fourth-seeded Broncs face No. 5 Siena College in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.

Also on Friday, third-seeded Quinnipiac faces sixth-seeded Niagara University at 5 p.m.

Top-seeded and MAAC regular season champion Fairfield University and second-seeded Marist College await the winners for semifinal matches on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Semifinal winners will square off in the championship match on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Broncs closed the regular season with four-straight victories and eight straight at home. Rider swept the season series with Siena, defeating the Saints, 3-2, on Oct. 9 in Loudonville, before earning a 3-1 victory this past Saturday at Alumni Gym. The Broncs also earned an impressive 3-0 win over second-seeded Marist to close out the regular season on Sunday.

Siena entered this past Saturday’s match on a five-match winning streak before the setback to the Broncs. The Saints closed out the regular season with a 3-0 sweep at Saint Peter’s on Sunday. The winner of Friday night’s match faces the daunting task of taking on Fairfield, which posted an unblemished 18-0 mark in league play this season.

The Broncs continue to be led by junior Veronica Koval (Allentown, PA/Parkland), sophomore Hailey Riede(Haworth/Northern Valley-Demarest) and junior Emma Aldaya (Prospect Park, PA/Merion Mercy Academy). Koval leads the MAAC in service aces and is fourth in the conference in assists. Riede is fourth in the MAAC in hitting percentage, while Aldaya has been named the MAAC Libero of the Week three times this season and ranks seventh in the league in digs per set.

Against the rest of the tournament field, the Broncs were swept by Fairfield and Quinnipiac, while splitting a pair of matches against both Marist and Niagara.

After 18 conference wins from 2007-2013, Rider has won 32 MAAC matches in the past three seasons under head coach Christopher Feliciano.

A MAAC Title would be the first for Rider in 20 seasons in the conference. Rider won Northeast Conference Titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996, advancing to the NCAA Championship Tournament in 1994 after winning an NCAA Play-In match.


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