Rowan volleyball’s season comes to an end against Montclair State University

Juniors Jamie Shirtz and Erin Keegan go up for a block earlier this year during the Profs Invitational. Photo Editor/Amanda Palma

The women’s volleyball team had their season come to a close against Montclair State University on Tuesday night in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Rowan lost in four sets as the Red Hawks took the first two, 25-11 and 25-14. The Profs prevented the sweep with a close 25-23 win in set three, but a late seven-point run for Montclair helped them take the fourth and final set 25-22. They finished the season 12-20 overall and 4-4 in the NJAC.

Montclair State will be heading to top-seeded Kean University, who ended their regular season campaign with an impressive 26-10 record and stayed undefeated throughout NJAC play, going 8-0.

Going into the game, head coach Deana Jespersen noted that this would be an even drawing for the playoffs. Earlier this season, the two faced off against one another with Rowan losing in five sets.

“I believe going into this match, my girls and the coaches know it’s a pretty even match,” Jespersen said. “If you look at all our statistics on the season and theirs, we’re both right there with each other.”

The brown and gold were able to out-block the Red Hawks 12-9, but were outdone in both digs and assists by 10 in both categories. Sophomore captain Megan Jacobi finished with a team-high 10 kills, giving her 302 for the year and a new career high. Senior captain Gina Kisley capped her college career off with nine kills and six blocks in the contest, tallying 171 kills and 86 blocks in her time on the court for Rowan. Freshman Taylor Modica put her first year in the books with 12 digs and seven kills. She finished top-three on the team in kills and top-four in digs, respectively. Senior captain Mary-Grace Testa had two blocks in the game, finishing her Rowan volleyball career with 428 digs, 200 kills and 71 blocks.

For the profs, it was an improvement over last year, as they outperformed their 2016 record by three games.

“Overall I think we performed great,” Jespersen said. “Again we’re young so I think if you look at our hitting numbers and our statistics we’re in the positive which is a big deal for as much out of system ball that we have played this year… I’m thrilled with the way we played great against some tough competition. We performed really well out of conference. We didn’t win all of those games but to me it’s a growth process.”

The regular season schedule will show that this was a shaky year in terms of wins and losses, but also getting players comfortable in specific roles. One thing is for sure, though. This team is extremely proud of what they accomplished this season.

“I think we did great,” Jacobi said. “I think we definitely had our bumps in the road but I think we definitely improved from last year, and we had a lot of growth. I think like we had said, this is a young team but they showed so much growth and drive over this past season. I’m so proud of all of them for that.”

The profs will only graduate two players at the end of this season, bringing back an overwhelming number of 2017 players. Which will give the team a great advantage when it comes to chemistry. 

Jacobi showed the compassion and love that she has for her team throughout the year.

“This is a young team but they showed so much growth and drive over this past season. I’m so proud of all of them for that,” she said.

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