After an early schedule filled with away matches, the Rowan volleyball team finally had home-court advantage this Tuesday. This was the first volleyball game played on the Profs’ official court in two years, after having to play in the recreation center due to issues with the Esbjornson gymnasium floor.
Before the game, head coach Deana Jespersen spoke about the excitement of being back on the home ground.
“Having a standalone on the home court, the way it’s supposed to be, will be a very welcoming change for sure for us,” Jespersen said. “Being at home will be a great change of pace for us.”
Rowan now gets the luxury of having their next three out of four games back at home.
Excitement filled the Esby gym as the brown and gold took the court for warm ups, preparing for a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup against Rutgers-Camden.
The two teams started the day off with a rally lasting over one minute, making the game feel like a tennis match. Freshman outside hitter Megan Jacobi would end the streak with a tip over a Rutgers-Camden double block.
Sophomore defensive specialist Alannah Srsich ended the game with an ace, bringing her intensity into the crowd and to her teammates.
“It is awesome being here at home in our own gym,” Srsich said. “I’m so glad we got off to that start. I just tried to help my team as much as I could. Plus, the crowd was absolutely phenomenal.”
As if the first set didn’t live up to the hype of an NJAC matchup, set two made a case for it.
Although the brown and gold came up short, both teams battled it out to the final set score of 30-28. Rowan came from down 19-12, to bring it to 24-all. Senior outside hitter Erica O’Hagan caught fire, tallying 7 of her 13 kills in the second set. It was Rutgers-Camden, though, who would force a fourth set.
“That second game was insane. 30 points was the highest I’ve ever played to before.” said O’Hagan. “We just had to stay focused. We didn’t pull it out, but we came back the next set and did our job.”
The Profs started the third set with a 7-1 advantage. The set ended with a Kailey Gallagher block, who followed that with the set-winning kill, leading Rowan to a 25-22 set win.
Finally, Rowan sealed the deal in the fourth set with a 25-20 victory, giving them an overall record of 3-9 with a 2-0 NJAC standing as well.
The team played superbly all-around. Freshmen Maura Francis (8 kills) and Megan Jacobi (7 kills) added to the attack, while the duo of sophomore Jamie Shirtz and junior Mary-Grace Testa totaled nine blocks out of the team’s 11 total.
The defense was superb as well, with senior libero Rebecca Dantonio, freshman defensive specialist Katelyn Paxson and sophomore defensive specialist Alannah Srsich combining for 44 of Rowan’s 78 digs.
Next up is Frostburg State University on Sept. 23 in Glassboro, where Rowan looks to make it two straight victories.
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