Women’s Volleyball on the Road to NJAC Championship

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics

The Roadrunners will look to win the first NJAC Championship in the history of the women’s volleyball program, and the first team other than the Stockton Ospreys to win an NJAC Championship since 2007.

The Roadrunners are the top seed in the 2016 NJAC Playoff Tournament, which marks the first time that any NJAC team other than the Ospreys secured the No. 1 seed since 2009.

Because of the one-seed, the Roadrunners have home-court advantage for the duration of the tournament.

The Roadrunners secured the top seed in the NJAC by attaining an 8-0 record against NJAC opponents, which includes impressive wins over the eight-time defending champion Stockton and last year’s NJAC runner-up Montclair State. The Roadrunners officially sealed the top seed in the NJAC with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-23) win yesterday against Rutgers-Camden on the road.

Tuesday night’s victory gave the Roadrunners their 18th victory in a row and improved their record to 22-3 overall.

Junior outside hitter Larysa Iwaskiw tallied 22 kills on the night, with senior middle blocker Emily Guyzman collecting five of her own.

For the second year in a row, the junior outside hitter leads the nation in three categories: kills per set (5.83), points per set (6.39) and attacks pet set (15.35). Last year, those stats were at 5.88, 6.57, and 14.48.

She also ranks third in the nation in total kills, with 490 on the season; her 588 kills last year were good for fourth in the country. Her career kill total currently sits at 1,621.

Senior outside hitter Rachel Selmore and freshman setter Kate Shirkey had 16 and 12 assists, respectively.

The Roadrunners have been a team where nothing bothers or intimidates them, and one of the keys to their success this year is that they just focus on what they need to do instead of worrying about what their opponents are going to do.

Iwaskiw gets a majority of the attention from the rest of the NJAC, but the Roadrunners play as a team, and they have each other’s backs.

In fact, the Roadrunners have gotten strong contributions from lesser known names within the NJAC and within the world of collegiate women’s volleyball such as Shirkey, Emily Guzman, Selmore, Kristen Behrens, Natalia Saavedra, Karina Almeda and many others. Additionally, the Roadrunners were ranked fourth overall in the first NCAA New York Regional Rankings of the 2016 season back on Oct. 20th, and they were the highest ranked NJAC team in the poll released on that day.

Almeda, a freshman outside hitter, has the fifth-best hitting percentage in the NJAC (.280). She also averages 0.66 service aces per set, which is second in the conference.

Behrens, a sophomore libero, average 3.70 digs per set, which is good for the fifth-best among NJAC players.

As a team, the Roadrunners rank fourth in the NJAC in hitting percentage, sitting at .198, and they rank eighth in blocks per set with 1.23, but they rank second in opponents’ hitting percentage (.109), first in assists per set (11.56), second in digs per set (17.47) and first in service aces per set (2.75).

The Roadrunners will face the winner of No. 4 Kean University and No. 5 Rowan University on Nov. 3. The matchup between the Cougars and the Profs will take place in Kean on Nov. 1.