Volleyball Makes Strides, Starts Season 3-5

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Volleyball Makes Strides, Starts Season 3-5

The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

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The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

The Rams have already matched their 2014 win total. Sam Joseph/The Fordham Ram.

By Anthony Pucik

The Fordham volleyball team opened up its season on the road at the Florida Gulf Coast University Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic in Fort Myers, Florida from Aug. 28-29. There, they played three matches and lost to Presbyterian and New Orleans 3-1 and were swept by the hosts FGCU 3-0.

The team returned home to the Rose Hill Gym on Wednesday, Sept. 2 to take on St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, who they swept in three sets 25-15, 25-14, 25-18. Freshman Breanna Jones and junior Kristen Ostach led Fordham with nine kills each, sophomore Clarissa Cartledge added a team-high 14 digs and sophomore Emily Fronk contributed 26 assists in the winning effort. Freshman Olivia LaPorta also chipped in four aces and two blocks.

The Rams next hosted the Rose Hill Classic from Sept. 4-5. Their first opponent was the Niagara University Purple Eagles. The Rams got off to a good start, winning the first set 25-22, but faltered in the second set, dropping it 25-17. In the third set, Fordham jumped out to a 5-2 lead and led by as many as five in the set, but the Purple Eagles outscored Fordham 15-7 to close out the set and take it 25-22. In the fourth set it was Niagara who went ahead early, scoring nine of the first 12 points, and they never looked back. The Rams scored four late points to put themselves within one, but were never able to completely close the gap, allowing Niagara to take the set 25-23 and the game 3-1. Freshman Natalie Martinez led Fordham with 14 kills, Cartledge once again led the way with 14 digs, Fronk added 29 assists and Ostach had six blocks.

Next up for the Rams was the Georgetown Hoyas. Fordham took an early 5-2 advantage in the first set, and pushed its lead up to eight at 20-12. The deficit was too big for the Hoyas to overcome, and the Rams took the first set 25-17. In the second set, Georgetown scored first and got out to a 6-3 advantage. Fordham tied the score at 13, but Georgetown closed out the set on a 12-5 run, taking the set 25-18 and tying the match. The Hoyas jumped out to an early lead once again in the third set 14-5, and cruised to a 25-13 victory. Needing a win to stay alive, Fordham trailed in the fourth set 7-4, but scored seven unanswered points to turn the tables and take an 11-7 lead. Georgetown tied the score at 15-all but never retook the lead, and Fordham forced a decisive fifth set after a 25-21 victory.

In the fifth set, the Hoyas scored the first two points but Fordham scored six of the next seven points to take a 6-3 lead. The two Jesuit schools stood within three points of one another for the rest of the set, but Fordham prevailed in the end 15-13 to pick up their second victory of the season. Jones had 18 kills for the Rams, while Carledge chipped in 15 digs and Fronk added 36 assists.

The Rams’ final game of the tournament came against the Robert Morris Colonials. The Colonials took the first set handily 25-10 after jumping out to a 12-2 lead. Fordham responded in the second set by scoring seven of the first 12 points to go up 7-5, but a 10-5 run by Robert Morris put them back in front 15-12. The Rams scored four unanswered points to retake the lead and pushed the advantage all the way up to three at 20-17, but the Colonials’ four and three consecutive point streaks in between Fordham points and ended up taking the second set 25-22. The third set was close throughout, with Fordham and Robert Morris both exchanging small point-scoring streaks leading up to a 16-16 tie. But the Colonials once again got the better of the Rams, scoring five of the next six points to go up 21-17 and eventually closed out the Rams 25-20, completing the sweep.

Sophomore Molly Oshinksi contributed nine kills, Cartledge had a team-high 14 digs and senior Abigail Konovodoff added 23 assists. At tournament’s end, Ostach was named to the Rose Hill Classic All-Tournament team. The middle hitter had 14 kills and 43 digs in the three tournament games.
Fordham’s next match was against Manhattan College on Tuesday, Sept. 8 on the road in Riverdale, where they defeated the Jaspers in four sets 25-27, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23. Martinez led the Rams with 10 kills.

The team is now 3-5 on the season, with their next matches being at the Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland from Sept. 11-12. The Rams first match is against the host team UMBC at 7 p.m. on Friday.