Women’s volleyball secures spot in NCAA with two more wins

The women’s volleyball team took their historic season to the next level by winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) for the first time in school history. Their prize is an automatic bid into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. This is the Roadrunners’ second time participating in the NCAA Tournament in all of program history.

The NJAC crown was claimed through two consecutive victories over Kean University and Stockton University over this past weekend.

On Nov. 9, the Cougars entered the Bradley Center with an overall record of 21-11 record and 6-2 in the NJAC. Throughout the match, they accumulated 45 kills, 65 points and a hitting percentage of .133. Although they scored one more point than Ramapo in total, they ultimately fell 3-1.

Ramapo’s victory over Kean was assured by the differences in their records. They stood 24-1 overall and 7-1 in the NJAC before they stepped onto the court against the Cougars. The Roadrunners scraped by to surpass Kean, earning a hitting percentage of .185 and 51 kills throughout the match.

The first set opened with a fast-paced slew of attacks, with four consecutive kills from Ramapo’s Maliyah LaBrie and Kean’s Bella Stem and Taylor Micheaux. Both teams led with their offense throughout the set. Ultimately, aggression without tact was the Cougars’ downfall. Six attack errors and two service errors slipped the set neatly into Ramapo’s pocket, 25-22.

The Cougars returned to the court with a vengeance. The Roadrunners scarcely had a chance to breathe. Kean established an 11-point lead that Ramapo could not recover from and took the set, 25-14.

The third set was on the verge of following suit, with a score of 24-20 in Kean’s favor, but Ramapo was not about to bow to the No. 3 seed when they had worked so hard all season to earn No. 2. The Roadrunners held the Cougars at bay long enough to make up the difference, and two consecutive kills from Kalme Moncavo swung the set in their favor 26-24.

Ramapo carried that energy into the fourth set and stayed on top for the majority of the game. Another kill from Moncavo assured their victory, 25-19 for the set and 3-1 overall.

On Nov. 11, Ramapo headed to Galloway to face the only opponent who had bested them all season, No. 1 seed Stockton. Both teams had the skills to back up their ambitions. Throughout the match, they each accrued 77 points and a combined hitting percentage of .219.

However, Ramapo led in kills, 63 to Stockton’s 56. 18 came from Maliyah LaBrie. Ramapo’s 3-2 victory also would not have been possible without 44 assists from Cleopatra Diakou and 19 digs from Krystal Santiago Oquendo.

It was a grim start for the Roadrunners, losing the first set 25-15. Ramapo won the following two sets by a slim margin, 25-20 and 25-23. The fourth set was a brutal back-and-forth, but two attack errors from the Roadrunners at a crucial point and a kill from Stockton’s Nicole Palmer gave it to the Ospreys.

It was anyone’s game. The Roadrunners pulled the score to 14-6, but the Ospreys kept them on the hook, gaining ground until they were only two points behind. Before they could overtake the Roadrunners, however, Karolina Rodriguez collected the 162nd kill of her career and sealed the game.

This upset of the No. 2 seed dethroning No. 1 indicates Ramapo has a lot to bring to the NCAA tournament next week. Their first chance to show what they’re made of outside of the NJAC this season will occur today in Maryland, where they are set to face Christopher Newport University.




Featured photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics