The Marist women’s volleyball team earned their third straight victory on Saturday afternoon over the Rider Broncs in five sets. With that win, the Red Foxes are now in sole possession of second in the MAAC with a 10-4 conference record.
“We talked before the match. That’s probably a semi-final preview in the conference,” head coach Sean Bryon said.
Both of these teams played a hard-fought match when they last faced off on October 3rd at the Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, when the Broncs earned the victory in five sets.
Rider was coming into this matchup against Marist in good form, winning each of their last three matches. The Broncs earned a road victory in three sets over the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on October 23rd, putting them at nine conference victories on the season.
Neither team showed the ability to gain a large advantage in the early stages of the first set. With the score standing at 12-10 in favor of Rider, the Broncs won the next four points to stretch their lead out to six. Marist tried to stop the bleeding with a timeout, but their attempt was unsuccessful. Rider took six of the last eight points to win the first 25-14. The Broncs did most of their damage at the net, generating 14 kills in the opening set. Rider was also incredibly effective on the defensive side of the ball in the first, leading in blocks 7-1.
It was more of the same to begin the second, as the largest lead for either side through the first 15 points was just four. With the score tied at 16, Marist picked up an unbelievable point following four diving efforts from the Red Foxes. Rider would eventually get even at 21 all, but the Red Foxes stuck with it. Marist would win four of the next five points to take the second set by a score of 25-22. The Red Foxes lost the battle in kills 15-13, but managed to force eight attacking errors from the Broncs in the second set.
A complete shift in momentum occurred at the beginning of the third set. Marist got off to a fast start, winning 12 of the first 19 points to take an early five point lead. Rider dug in to tie it at 15, but Marist seemed to still have control of the set. The Red Foxes took five of the last seven points to win the third 25-20. Marist punished Rider at the net in third, holding an advantage in kills 20-11.
With an opportunity to finish the match off, Marist came out strong to start the fourth set. The Red Foxes led by three through the first 19 points. Rider would then go on a 10-1 run to put some distance between themselves. Marist would get the deficit to as low as five, but were unable to get any closer. Rider would take the final five points to win the fourth set 25-15.
Rider got off to a lively start to open up the fifth set, winning the first three points. Marist would eventually fall behind by four at 7-3, forcing coach Bryon to call a timeout. The Red Foxes battled back to tie it at 12 following an ace from outside hitter Jordan Newblatt. Marist would win the next two points before Rider answered with a kill from Jenna Amaro, making the score 14-13 in favor of the home team. The Broncs were unable to extend the match, as a kill from outside hitter Sasha Van der Merwe gave the Red Foxes the fifth and final set 15-13.
“We’re definitely a team that you can’t count out,” senior McKinley Fox said.
The Red Foxes had a really balanced attack going against the Broncs. Gabriella Heimbauer, Jordan Newblatt, and Sasha Van der Merwe all had double-digit kills, combining for a total of 45.
Marist returns to play on October 31st at 1 p.m. when they face the Saint Peter’s Peacocks at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Red Foxes won the previous matchup between these teams on October 2nd, taking the match in four sets. Marist is 29-15 against Saint Peter’s all-time, including a 21 match win streak that stretched from 2008-2018.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Photo from Marist Athletics