By Steve Speedling
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist volleyball team defeated the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference leading Rider 3-2 on Sunday afternoon. The win extends Marist’s winning streak to three, and moves the Red Foxes into a tie for second place in the conference. In the victory, Stephanie Stone collected four total blocks, moving her into sole possession of 10th place on Marist’s all-time blocks list.
The Red Foxes are now 5-8 overall on the season, and 3-1 in the MAAC. Rider falls to 6-10 overall, and receives its first MAAC loss of the season, falling to 3-1 in conference play.
The Red Foxes stormed out of the gate of set one, and led Rider 15-12 heading into the first media timeout. The Broncs regrouped at the timeout, and used a 10-3 run to take a 22-18 lead. A late push by the Red Foxes wouldn’t be enough to stop Morgan Romano, as her 10 kills alone in the first set carried the Broncs to a 25-20 set victory.
Both teams went back-and-forth early in set two, but the Red Foxes took three straight points on kills from Nikki DeSerpa and Megan Fergus, and a service ace from Courntey Kasperski, to force a Rider timeout with the Broncs trailing 12-8. This time, the Red Foxes kept their foot on the gas coming out of the timeout, not allowing Rider to crawl back into the set. The Red Foxes took set two in convincing fashion, 25-18.
Again, set three began tightly contested, but Rider looked to have gained control, after scoring three consecutive points to take a 14-11 lead. From that point on, the Red Foxes kicked it into a second gear, and would not be denied. Marist took 12 of the next 13 points, to take a 23-16 lead. Sarah Austin finished off the set with her 10th kill of the match, and gave the Red Foxes a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set.
The fourth set was the closest yet. Neither team led by more than three points in the early-going, leading to a deadlock at 16. DeSerpa and Halle Carter shot touch-kills just over the Rider defense to give Marist an 18-16 lead, forcing Rider to take a timeout. Out of that timeout, the Broncs would answer with three straight points of their own, taking a 19-18 lead, and despite multiple attempts to tie the match, the Broncs held off the Red Foxes and took the set 25-22.
The Red Foxes came out strong to begin set five, taking an 8-4 lead into the fifth set media timeout. DeSerpa denied Romano on the ensuing play with an absolutely beautiful block, and followed up the block with the next two Marist points on two kills, extending the Red Fox lead to 11-6. Marist took four of the next six points, taking down Rider 15-8, and winning the match 3-2.