Ramapo Eyes Top Spot In NJAC Postseason Tournament

Photo by Justin Roth

The Roadrunners are looking to earn some more wins in their remaining four New Jersey Athletic Conference games of the season.  After coming out on the losing end of a 3-0 sweep (26-24, 25-16, 25-21) to Kean University on Tuesday, the remaining games are vital if Ramapo wants to secure a top spot in the NJAC Tournament.

Ramapo and Kean are now both 3-1 in the Conference. The Roadrunners have games against Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers-Camden and Richard Stockton to wrap up their NJAC schedule.

“We’ve been somewhat preparing a little bit at a time.  I know once we get through that, it’s pretty much a home stretch that can be easily obtained for us in the conference,” said Ramapo head coach Robert Pichardo.

Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden should be winnable games for the Roadrunners. Rutgers-Newark is 2-3 and Rutgers-Camden is 0-4 in the NJAC this season.

If Ramapo wants a chance to earn the Conference’s top spot, they will have to beat Stockton when the Ospreys come to the Bradley Center. Stockton currently leads the Conference with a 5-0 NJAC record.

“I think we’re very goal oriented,” sophomore libero Irmak Dagistanli said. “So we know exactly what we have to do, and we’re going to enforce everything we’ve been practicing in practices and all of our non conference games.  So we’re going to really try to put our best foot forth and try to win the game.”

The top two teams in the tournament are granted a first round bye while the third and sixth place face off and the fourth and fifth seeds battle to make it to the next round.

Having that extra game off can do wonders to support a deep tournament run. Last season, Stockton earned first place in the division and won their sixth consecutive NJAC championship.

Ramapo earned the fifth seed in the tournament last year with a 4-4 record and were eliminated in the first round by Montclair. The Roadrunners are looking to go deeper in the tournament this season.

“As a team, we’re working harder,” sophomore and middle blocker Emily Guzman said. “We’re working as a unit now as opposed to last year where I feel like our chemistry wasn’t as strong.  Overall I think we’re a harder team to compete with now, and that other teams in the NJAC can see that.”