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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac stays undefeated at home, squeezes out tight win against Rider

Quinn O’Neill
Graduate student Aryanah Diaz (left) and freshman Leilani-Kai Guista await a serve in the Bobcats’ sweep of Rider Sunday.

HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac volleyball extends its undefeated home stretch with a straight-set win over Rider on Sunday, moving to 9-1 in MAAC play.

Starting out strong, sophomore setter Damla Gunes opened the game with three-straight service aces, giving the Bobcats an early run and forcing Rider to take its first timeout three minutes into the match.  

“I just have this mentality that we have to start strong from the beginning and we have to take their courage down,” Gunes said. “I trust my serve and I don’t usually miss them so I just go out there and try to dominate.”

Rider shook off its surprise rather quickly, though, but never quite managed to shake that early advantage Gunes’ sets gave the Bobcats.

Out of the 25 points in the first set, 11 were given away freely by Rider through attack errors. Out of the 20 points Rider amounted, Quinnipiac gave away 10.

Flipping the sides, Rider took off on an early 3-0 run at the start of the second set, before junior opposite hitter Alexandra Tennon killed three in a row to bring the set to a tie.

With sophomore outside hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni being out again due to an injury, Tennon seems to have jumped into her role. 

“(Tennon) has come a long way, she is a lot better this year than she was last year,” head coach Kyle Robinson said. “She can go and dominate the match. She has really become reliable and is a major component to this team.”

Despite having the most attack errors (five), Tennon was just behind graduate outside hitter Aryanah Diaz in recorded kills tonight (12).

The second set could’ve easily gone to either side, as neither the Bobcats nor the Broncs seemed to be able to get a one-up on the other team.

Tennon’s kill, which brought the set to 8-7, seemed to be the turning point as the Broncs weren’t able to get their lead back. After that, Tennon then proceeded to kill the final point in the second set, giving the Bobcats the much needed 2-0 set advantage.

Bad passing and 13 kills from Rider made the final set a lot more difficult for the Bobcats, punctuated by the animated Robinson on the bench.

“I’ve seen our team train and play this game at a much higher level, so my expectations are greedy,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day I’m their biggest fan, I’m sometimes almost a fanatic.”

After a contested kill from Diaz that went to Rider and tied the score at 19-19, Diaz redeemed herself with two consecutive kills, forcing Rider to take a time-out.

However, the Broncs were no match to a straight-line kill from freshman outside hitter Leilani-kai Giusta, giving the Bobcats the set point. Rider crumbled under the pressure as an attack error from sophomore outside hitter Kiannisha Santiago gave the Bobcats the win. 

Quinnipiac’s journey this year seems almost too good to be true. With just one loss to Fairfield so far this season, the Bobcats are pulling larger and larger crowds with each game, winning 21 straight sets at their home court. 

“We love Burt Kahn, and now with the photographs (on the walls), it feels like our court,” Gunes said. 

Quinnipiac is set to return to action again on Oct. 21 when it travels to Niagara to face the Purple Eagles at 1 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Alexandra Martinakova
Alexandra Martinakova, Editor-in-Chief
Quinn O’Neill
Quinn O’Neill, Associate Multimedia Editor

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