Rowan University volleyball hosted a tri-match on Saturday, Oct. 30, to finish their regular season. The Profs took on the 13-11 Brooklyn College Bulldogs and the 13-13 Mount Saint Mary College (NY) Knights. Rowan entered the tournament with a 23-5 record.
Rowan’s first match was against Brooklyn College. The Bulldogs showed a strong cohesiveness throughout the match, but could not keep up with the depth of skill that Rowan’s team possesses.
The Profs began the first set down 2-0 after a couple of prolonged rallies did not end in their favor. Rowan soon took a 12-4 lead with the help of four kills from outside junior hitter Brianna Newson. Rowan’s momentum would continue as they would win the set 25-11 due to some critical moments, such as an attack set up by freshman Brooke Adams for senior middle hitter Cassidy Abdalla.
Rowan won the second set 25-19. This set saw one of the two blocks that freshman middle hitter Isabel “Isa” Kirchner would record that match. In addition, fellow freshman middle hitter Geena Edmanson finished the match with four blocks.
Cassidy Abdalla totaled eight kills in the game and fellow senior Natalie Ogden finished with 10. Ogden received her tenth kill on the closing point of the set. Rowan won 25-14, sweeping their opponent 3-0 in sets for the 15th time this season.
Head Coach Deana Jespersen praised Ogden’s play, not only in this match but in her career, overall.
“Nat’s one of the smartest, if not the smartest volleyball player I’ve ever coached. Her volley I.Q. is ridiculous. I don’t know if people understand what she does,” Coach Jespersen said. “She’s superior as a hitter, she’s superior as a defenseman and she’s a superior passer. And that’s crazy, you don’t get that. And I think Nat was probably underestimated at some point because of her size. She doesn’t look like she is going to crush you, but every year she keeps getting better in all the areas of the game that she plays.”
After Brooklyn College defeated Mount Saint Mary 3-1, Rowan faced the Mount Saint Mary Knights.
Rowan experienced minor difficulties in the first set and found themselves tied at 5-5. Defensive specialist Julia Bowes, a junior, broke the tie with a clutch ace. Rowan won the first set 25-20 and Bowes finished the match against the Knights with three aces and six digs.
“Julia has been huge, going from being concussed and missing the first six weeks of the season, to now being a starter,” Coach Jaspersen said. “And that’s not just because of great coaching, that’s because they buy-in.”
During the second set, Brianna Newson was inserted back into the starting lineup. On the third point of the set, Newson dove on the floor and, with one arm extended, used her fist to save the ball that was nearing the floor and bumped it in the air, resulting in a kill by Ogden. Newson finished the match with nine kills.
This set would also see Adams achieve her 1000th career assist. Rowan won the set 25-18, with one set remaining to complete another sweep in front of their home crowd.
The third set saw even more success for the Profs. Newson achieved her ninth and final kill of the match for Rowan’s tenth point. In addition, freshman setter Abigail Webste became the fifth Prof in the match to receive an ace for their 11th point of the game.
Mount Saint Mary failed to catch up to Rowan, and they finish with a 15 point deficit, the largest of the entire tournament, and went down in straight sets, losing the third set 25-10. Rowan has had 16 wins in straight sets this season, three from the last three games of their regular season schedule.
The regular season is officially over and the Profs now head into playoff season, but Ogden is prepared to put it all on the court.
“I just wanna go all out for my last few games here,” Ogden said. “And it just means a lot of everything that I do.”
Rowan is set to face their next opponent Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. in Glassboro during a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) semifinal contest.
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