NASHUA, N.H. - The Raiders, fresh off a 27-win season and another trip to the GNAC Championship match in 2018, will look to keep the momentum going with another strong campaign in 2019. This seasoned team of 4 seniors, 6 juniors, 3 sophomores, and 6 newcomers has the experience to do just that but they have a long road ahead of them with a challenging GNAC schedule lined up. Along with a tough GNAC schedule RIV will be challenged by some high level out-of-conference teams and out of region teams which should hopefully prepare the Raiders for battle against some very determined GNAC teams.
Senior Taylor Dunster (5'7, OH, Sutton, Mass.) a 2-time All GNAC Team member will lead the Raiders this season. Expect to see this athletic player on top of the GNAC again with a powerful offensive along with a stellar ball control defense. Jessica Whyte (5'9, MH, Plymouth, Mass.) elevated her game in her junior season leading RIV in hitting percentage while ranking 2nd in blocks for the 2018 team. Look for this hardworking athlete to take her game to one more level this year and be consistently on top of the Raider stat. Classmate Sunny Foglia (6'0, MH, Remsenburg, N.Y.) hopes to finish off her career with a solid year as well. The New York native should add a good counter to Whyte in the middle hitter position with her solid block. Transfer senior Taryn Higareda (5'8, L/S, Rosemead, Calif.) will play her first and last season with the Raiders after a winning a conference championship at Southern Vermont College and prior to that being a standout player junior college in California for 2 years. In 2018, Higareda led SVC in digs and will look to be a significant impact for the Blue and White this season.
Avery Pollard (5'7, S, Ballston Lake, N.Y.) will take over the reins of directing the Raider offense. The sophomore standout started as opposite hitter her first season and will move into setting full time for RIV this season. Sydney Racevicius (5'7, OH, Woodbury, Conn.) earned All GNAC 2nd Team honors in her rookie season after finishing an impressive 2nd on the team for kills and digs. The second year player has her eyes on an All GNAC 1st Team selection and Rivier will need that type of play from her all season long to be successful. Fellow sophomore Leah Giampietro (5'1, L, Coventry, R.I.) will look to build off an injury riddled first season and be the consistent ball control specialist she has the ability to be. If healthy the Coventry Rhode Island native has the ability to be a difference maker in the back row.
Junior Julia Zargaj (5'11, MH, Grovetown, Mass.) another player whose career has been slowed by injuries will try to rebound back to the starting line-up. The talented middle hitter and 3rd Team All GNAC selection has all the tools and the determination to make an impact for the Raiders. Classmate Kat Antczak (5'6, S, Salem, N.H.) will once again bring her versatility to the court for the Raiders. Her ability to set, pass, and play defense consistently will prove to be vital in the Raiders success.
Jill Rabasco (6'0, OPP, Nashua, NH), Ally Zagami (5'7, OH, Milford, Mass.) and Joy Maswoswe (5'8, OH, Ashland, Mass.) all made strides in their games last year and hope to have breakout years in this their junior seasons while Julianna Byington (5'8, OH, Hanscom A.F.B.) will try to rebound from a tough leg injury her freshman season that kept her sidelined all last season.
Mia Harmon (5'9, OPP/OH, Concord, N.H.), Emily Jennings (6'2, OH, Killingworth, Conn.), and Nicole Lezon (6'0, MH, Lincoln, R.I.) all will add size and power to the Raider offense. Harmon, a New Hampshire All State Team member and team MVP at Concord high School, will bring versatility to the mix with the ability to play both sides of the pin. Jennings, a Connecticut All State Team member and an All Shoreline recognition, will use her height to bolster the outside hitter position while Lezon, a Rhode Island All State selection, will use her athleticism in the middle for the Blue and White.
Anna Campbell (5'4, S, Nashua, N.H.), Lydia Pray (5'8, DS, Groton, Mass.) and Olivia Garand (5'1, L, Litchfield, N.H.) all should be difference makers in the back row for RIV. Campbell, a Nashua South Team MVP, registered over 1,000 assists in her career and will be a nice addition to the setting core. Pray captained her Groton-Dunstable High School team to a 2018 state championship and will add ball control to the back row along with the ability to take some swings on the right side. Garand, a New Hampshire 1st Team All State member, should help the Raiders passing and floor defense with her gritty play.
The Raiders will open up their 2019 season this weekend with a trip to Puerto Rico. They will play against two Puerto Rican Universities along with a pair of contests with Washington College. Game one is set for 11am on Saturday morning.