2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Tournament
#10 Rider University 3, #7 Marist College 0
#2 Iona College 3, #10 Rider University 1
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.--The Rider University volleyball team won its first match at the 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Volleyball Tournament at ESPNs Wide World of Sports Thursday before Iona rallied for a four-set win in the nightcap.
"The match against Iona was a hard fought match," said head coach Emily Ahlquist. "Both teams had to fight for every point. It was a battle to the finish."
The Broncs defeated seventh seed Marist 25-15, 25-22, 29-27 with the Gaels winning 16-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-14 in the 10-team double elimination tournament.
Against the Red Foxes, Rider (4-26) was led by graduate student Alex Chapla (Aliquippa, Pa./Center Area) who had a match-high 13 kills while hitting .400. Chapla also added six blocks.
"We have been working hard on getting our middles going," said Ahlquist. "Alex has taken upon herself to be a great team leader and is prepared and ready for anything."
Also for the Broncs, senior Katelyn Thompson (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) had 12 kills, senior Elyse Grassmuck (San Antonio, Texas/La Vernia) had 21 digs and senior Amanda Piccolini (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) had 37 assists.
Rider split with the Red Foxes this season, defeating Marist 3-2 on October 31 in Alumni Gym after rallying from two sets down.
The Broncs lost 3-2 at Marist in Poughkeepsie, New York October 9.
Former Northeast Conference rivals, Rider has now won 13 of the 28 matches all-time against Marist.
Against the Gaels, Iona trailed one set to none and 11-7 before tying the match and went on to advance to the semifinals on Saturday.
Thompson recorded a 'double-double' for Rider with 13 kills and 10 digs with Chapla adding 10 kills. Grassmuck led the Broncs with 19 digs.
Iona defeated Rider in New Rochelle, New York on October 2 by a 3-0 score and in Lawrenceville 3-0 on November 14. The Gaels lead the overall series 21-3. Rider last defeated Iona during the 1999 season.
This was only Rider's second MAAC playoff win since joining the conference. In 2002, as the number 10 seed, the Broncs went 1-2 in Florida, defeating Siena while losing to Saint Peter's and Canisius. The win against the Saints also happened on November 18.
"Our team is coming together just at the right time," Ahlquist said. "We are meeting our goals and really surprising some people. Teams don't want to play us, we battle on every point and that is gratifying as coaches and players."
Rider will play Saint Peter's in an elimination match at 11am Friday. The Peahens lost in five sets to Siena Thursday morning.
"Saint Peter's is a tough team," Ahlquist added. "We are going to have to get a good night's sleep and really come prepared for Friday."