MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris University Colonials (9-17, 3-8) take on Saint Francis University (4-20, 3-8) this Friday at the North Athletic Complex in an NEC showdown. This is the second time these two teams will meet this year, with SFU winning the first match 3-1 back in September.
The Colonials had a huge win over LIU Brooklyn (13-7, 10-1) by winning three sets to one and handing them their first conference loss of the year, but LIU still sits alone at the top of the NEC and has already clinched an NEC playoff birth.
SFU lost a hard-fought match against Saint Francis Brooklyn 3-2. As mentioned, this will be the second time these two teams will meet and will determine who moves ahead of who in the conference.
RMU dropped a lot of games early and late in the season when they finally snapped a four-game losing streak last week, which makes them 1-4 in their last five matches. They were not swept in any of the matches during that stretch, and their lone win came against the No. 1 team, and no longer undefeated in the NEC, LIU Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn had won their previous 18 NEC matches with their last loss being to none other than RMU again, over a year ago. Even with this huge win, RMU is still tied for sixth in the conference with the team they will be going up against this weekend.
Looking back at the last game, senior outside hitter Taylor Lord led the way for the Colonials with 17 kills. Sophomore Whitney Brown was a backbone for RMU in this one with 21 assists and 11 digs, but Megan Cannon was setting everything up as she tallied a team high 26 assists.
The difference in the match-up was how effective RMU was on their blocks compared to LIU. LIU was outblocked 14-6 and RMU was able to gather more momentum off of each of their blocks. It was an all-around great team effort that showed what this team is truly capable of, and how effective they can be when they are so in sync. It is unfortunate that it clicks so late in the season, but they have a bright future to look forward to.
The Saint Francis Red Flash are tied with RMU for sixth in the NEC with a 3-8 conference record, but they are 1-12 in non-conference match-ups. SFU is also 1-4 in their last five games, just like RMU, but they have lost four in a row. Their lone win in their last five games came against the only winless team in the conference, Farleigh Dickinson (2-24, 0-10). SFU has a .143 kill percent compared to RMU’s .178. They have not been able to find the holes in opposing teams’ defenses and it has cost them a lot of games. Their 889 total offensive errors don’t help their cause at all and play a big part in why their record is what it is.
They have a low kill percentage because they have given up a total of 220 blocks while only managing to put up 147 for their own. They are behind their opponents on just about every single category you can think of, except for serving errors, but even then they have given up way too many aces defensively on the season. It has been a tough year for them and they will be looking to try and finish their season strong, just as RMU is.
Who to Watch?
Emma Granger (RMU): This is a fairly obvious player to watch because you can’t miss her. She’s 6’4 and is a constant source of momentum for her team. She leads her team in kills, and even more impressively kill percentage, while also being a presence up front with her team-leading 87 blocks, 14 of them coming from just her which is also another team-leading statistic.
Taylor Lord (RMU): The senior outside hitter has 18, 19, 18, 14 and 17 kills in each of her last five games, respectively. The year has not gone the way that she envisioned, but she is not letting up for one second and is putting it all out there every night, as she has the numbers to prove it. She leads the team with kill attempts which shows the amount of trust her teammates and coaches have in her.
Whitney Brown (RMU): This RMU Sophomore is coming off of a wonderful game where she had 21 assists and 11 digs, she will be looking to keep the dice rolling. She leads the team with 723 assists and is fourth on the unit with 32 blocks which are impressive with her 5’7 frame. She is showing off her skills on both offense and defense.
Nicole Adams (SFU): Adams is second on the Red Flash with 266 kills, but she has a .147 kill percent which is good for first among her teammates with at least 300 attempts. It will be up to her and fellow teammates Madi Tyus and Alexis Lambert to control the tempo of this match-up.
Who Comes Out On Top?
We know that SFU took the last match 3-1, but that was over a month ago. This match-up is at home for RMU this time around, and RMU is red hot after that huge win over LIU Brooklyn. SFU has been slow all year, and their losing streak may still be there after this weekend.
RMU wins 3-1