(Union, N.J.) The Rivier University Women's Volleyball opened up the 2018 campaign this weekend at the Kean University Invitational down in New Jersey. The Raiders dropped their opening two games on Saturday before splitting the two matches on Sunday.
Game One: Vassar College 3, Rivier University 0 (Final)
Rivier suffered a tough three-set loss to Vassar College in their opening contest of the seaxson. The Raiders fell by set scores of 25-19, 28-26 and 25-20.
Courtney Collins (Litchfield, N.H.) made her Rivier debut by leading the team with 11 kills and a .391 hitting percentage. Freshman Sydney Racevicius (Woodbury, Conn.) also contributed 11 kills in her first collegiate action and junior Jess Whyte (Plymouth, Mass.) chipped in with seven kills on a .312 hitting percentage. Senior Hayley Macken (Clifton Park, N.Y.) dished out 26 assists to go along with her team high 14 digs. Junior Taylor Dunster (Sutton, Mass.) and freshman Leah Giampietro (Coventry, R.I.) also recorded double-digit digs as they totaled 10 and 12 digs respectively. Freshman Avery Pollard (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) paced the defensive attack along the net with four total blocks.
Vassar was guided by Devan Gallagher, who complied a game-high 16 kills and .432 hitting percentage. Lauren Ninkovich provided additional support with eight kills and Annie MacMillan handed out a game-high 29 assists. Anna Zucchero collected 14 digs along the backline for Vassar's first win of the season.
Game Two: Kean University 3, Rivier University 0 (Final)
To cap off opening day action, the Raiders dropped a 3-0 decision to Kean by set scores 25-20, 25-19 and 25-12.
Collins led the charge once again as the rookie contributed eight kills on a .400 connection rate. Macken set up Rivier's 24-kill offense with 20 assists to go along with seven digs, three kills of her own and one block. Dunster and Pollard had well-balanced performances as well. Dunster chipped in six digs and four kills, while Pollard added five kills and three digs.
Kean was paced by Vikki Stec's nine-kill, five-dig, one-block effort. Andrea Antal and Brett Harper had eight kills each with Brianna Calvano handling the setting responsibilities for the Cougars with 25 handouts.
Game Three: Rivier University 3, Western New England 1 (Final)
In the day two opener, the Raiders brought home their first win of the season as they downed Western New England College in four sets. Rivier won the sets by scores of 15-25, 25-20, 26-24 and 25-6.
Macken was the star of the match as the veteran setter totaled team-highs with 25 assists and 14 digs. She also swung at an .800 clip with four kills and a block assist. Dunster led the offense with nine kills and Whyte chipped in with seven kills, a .312 hitting percentage and five total blocks. Pollard patrolled the back line with 12 digs.
Western New England saw Toni Fiore attain the team-high with eight kills and Kierah Parker, Ashley Matthews & Jenna Ferguson each added six kills apiece. Jenna McCormack dished out 19 assists while Kiana Turner totaled ten digs.
Game Four: Wisconsin-Eau Claire 3, Rivier University 0 (Final)
The Raiders closed out the four-game, two-day tournament with a straight set loss to Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The set scores were 25-16, 25-22 and 25-18.
Whyte was outstanding in the finale as she hammered down 12 kills and a .474 hitting percentage. Macken once again led the team with 25 assists and Racevicius scooped up eight digs. Dunster chipped in with eight kills in the loss.
UWEC saw a trio of student-athletes achieve double-digit kills with Makenzie Bachmann leading the way with 13. Kendra Baierl and Madelyn Pashibin were the other two who registered 12 and 10 kills respectively. Madison Surprise handed out 36 helpers and Taylor Scalia picked up 15 digs in the win.
For her efforts, senior Hayley Macken was named to the All-Tournament team. The Raiders will return home for their next contest as they host both Rochester Tech & Keene State in the opening day of the Granite State Challenge on Friday night at the Muldoon Gymnasium.