Volleyball Goes 2-2 Over Second Week of Season

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By Andrea Garcia

The Rams took one of three games at the Terrier/Rose Hill Classic. Courtesy of Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram.

The Rams took one of three games at the Terrier/Rose Hill Classic. Courtesy of Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram.

Women’s Volleyball opened up its season with a home match against the Manhattan College Lady Jaspers on Wednesday, Aug. 31. This battle of Bronx teams coincided with a welcome back dinner reception for all varsity student-athletes in the Rose Hill Gymnasium.

The women had a great start to the season and proved strong in the first two sets of the match winning both by a score of 25-15. The third set was much closer, as the Lady Jaspers got off to a 7-1 lead early on. However, a nine-point run, secured by consistent digs from freshman libero Morgan Williams, rejuvenated the Rams’ hopes of winning the set. The service switched sides until the score crept up to a 24-22 kill. While another point for Fordham would have finished off the match, anticipation built as Fordham lost their rally in a service error. A bounce kill from the Manhattan offense on the next point tied it up. Both teams would need to push through for the regulation two-point lead. The Rams did just that, and sealed the third and final set with a kill by Breanna Jones and a hitting error on Manhattan College.

The following Friday, the team jumped into tournament play at the Terrier/Rose Hill Classic. On the first day of the tournament, the Rams suffered a difficult five set loss against St. Francis Brooklyn. In the first set, the women continued their momentum from the Manhattan match and earned a confident 25-15 win. After switching court sides, the Terriers took the second set by a score of 25-18. The Terriers kept pressure on the Rams, but Fordham fought back to finish off with a tight 25-22 set to pull ahead. However, the Rams lost some of their energy in the fourth set, losing again to the Terriers 25-19. Both teams reset their playing mentalities to start off the shortened fifth and final set. The Rams failed to make a comeback, and St. Francis kept a strong lead for the majority of the set until Fordham sided out at 14-14 with a kill. Two strong offensive plays from St. Francis Brooklyn closed out this tournament game at a very close 16-14.

The second day of the tournament was highlighted as a doubleheader for Fordham, with the first match against the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the final one against Quinnipiac to decide third and fourth place for the tournament. Fordham got off to a strong start against NJIT, managing seven kills. Court momentum changed mid-set, and NJIT crept up after a long run to bring the box score up 13-6. Fordham had a strong hitting streak to open the second set with a seven-point header, but the two teams battled it out and traded service until NJIT pulled ahead to take the first set 25-23. The Highlanders were even better in the second set, winning 25-17. This was the first match of the fall in which Fordham lost both of its opening sets in one match.

The Rams were forced to refocus their attention on the court and shift their playing mentality. The third set began with an easy 3-0 Fordham lead before NJIT took its first point of the set. The score went up to 7-3, still in Fordham’s favor. Early in the game, NJIT was able to claim a tied with a four-point run garnered by their threatening offensive players. The teams kept siding each other out up to 18-17, when a long-awaited kill from freshman Olivia Fairchild put Fordham in the driver’s seat for good. The Rams fought for their close lead and secured their first set against NJIT by a score of 25-23. The fourth set again saw Fordham with its back against the wall, and the Rams managed to exhaust the Highlanders to a secure 25-19 finish. The fifth and final set began with a notable block from sophomore Natalie Martinez and freshman Elise Benjamin, but the court rhythm swung in NJIT’s favor with a nine-point run. The Rams eagerly fought back, but they did not have enough plays in the shortened set, as NJIT finished off the game at a solid 15-12.

Even with the loss, the Rams still had work to do at the Terrier/ Rose Hill Classic. They had yet to face off against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, whom they ultimately beat to take third place in the tournament. After a pair of losses to open the event, the easy three-set win over the Bobcats was a major confidence-booster. Martinez made her first starting lineup of the season and contributed 11 kills and two play-ending blocks to Fordham’s win in the first set. The Bobcats closed the gap in the second set, winning 25-20, but Fordham closed out the match strong in the final set, matching the first set score of 25-17.

This week, the Rams will travel to Boston to appear in the two-day Northeastern Tournament. There, they will face off against Northeastern, Binghamton and Presbyterian before returning to Rose Hill for an evening home match against Saint Peter’s on the Sept. 14.