Volleyball topples NJAC rivals to jump to second in the standings

The volleyball team celebrating in a game earlier this year. Photo / Multimedia Editor Christian A Browne

After struggling the week earlier, the Rowan volleyball team turned things around with a huge win against Montclair State last week, winning 3-1 and raising their New Jersey Athletic Conference record up to 3-1, good for third in the NJAC.

The biggest change for the Profs? Changing the team’s attitude, according to head coach, Deana Jespersen.

“I think we definitely had a general feeling of positivity, we had talked a lot about changing our energy and investing in ourselves the right way and not beating ourselves up,” Jespersen said. “The girls were saying that night [after the win] ‘it was really hard to get down on yourself because no one let you.’ They held themselves accountable, making sure they were wrapping each other up in a positive way and talking to each other in a positive way the entire night, and talking to each other in a tone to build each other up and not letting anyone rest on their mistakes. I feel like the entire time we were super focused and executed really well, so it was a great match for sure.”

Team co-captain and outside hitter Megan Jacobi, who led both teams in kills with 18, agreed with her coach that it was a team effort.

“We knew going into Montclair that it was going to be a battle,” Jacobi said. “We have three words that we live by, ‘battle, breathe and believe,’ and I think we utilized that throughout the whole night. We were completely relentless and it was a complete team effort so it really worked in our favor.”

As great as this victory was, the Profs have an even tougher task ahead of them, as they face Kean University on Tuesday. Kean currently leads the NJAC with a 4-0 record, and a win would tie the two teams in record for second in the NJAC.

“I think we’re going into it with the same mindset as Montclair,” Jacobi said. “We found the mindset of just being relentless, fighting completely. We’re the underdogs in the NJAC, we’re the dark horse and we totally embrace that so we’re going to give it all we have. We know Kean is a great team and hopefully we come out on top.”

Coach Jespersen agreed with her captain.

“We’re preparing similar to everything else that we’ve been doing, we just take it one game at a time,” Jespersen said. “Last year we split with them, we won the first time we played them and lost to them in the semi (finals on the NJAC tournament), knowing that we’re capable for sure. We know some of the things they like to do so we’ll spend some time focusing on how we can defend against that, but also just spending a lot of time focusing on what we do well, because it’s not just about them, it’s about us too.”

The Profs went on to defeat Kean 3-0 to improve to 4-1 in the conference, tied with Kean for second.

The Profs will travel to Texas for the Trinity University Tournament this weekend.

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