Staten Island, NY | The Dolphins history-making start came to an end tonight at the hands of Rutgers-Newark after falling in straight sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19, to fall to 2-1 on the season while the Scarlet Raiders of Rutgers-Newark evened out at 1-1. 

The Dolphins and Scarlet Raiders opened the match with an intense back-and-forth set which saw extended rallies that ignited the crowd in applause. Attacks that certainly looked like kills were dug out of danger to keep the play alive.  On several occasions, Francesca Castellano and Cassidy Iannariello saved the Dolphins with a clutch dig. Staten Island kept it close with their NJAC opponents and trailed just 7-6 early on. Rutgers-Newark stretched their lead to six after a 6-0 run and were able to hold the Dolphins at that deficit throughout the rest of the match.CSI caught fire towards the end of the set, stringing together a couple of points but were unable to overcome the six-point deficit. The Dolphins dropped the opening set 25-19 despite a promising performance. Margaret O’Malley-Rebovich hit a powerful .444 in the opening set and tallied four kills but it was not enough to lift the Dolphins past the Scarlet Raiders.

The second set played out much of the same as it did in set one, with both teams playing quality rallies and going back-and-forth with points. Solid passing by Arianna Spears allowed her teammates to rifle off quality attacks at her opponents. With the score knotted at eight, the Scarlet Raiders went on a 3-0 run to take the largest lead of the set up to that point. Caitlin Esposito brought the Dolphins within one after tapping it over an outstretched blocker, making the score 11-10 in favor of the visitors. Rutgers-Newark further extended their lead with a 5-0 run, which prompted a timeout by the Dolphins in an attempt to slow down Scarlet Raiders. 

CSI was able to pull back within two, 18-20 before a service error put the ball back in the Scarlet Raiders’ hands. The Dolphins would get a point back but another late surge by Rutgers-Newark brought them victory once again to take a 2-0 lead in the match by the same score as the first set, 25-19. Alexandria Boachie-Ansah was crucial in keeping the Dolphins close after securing a couple of kills. 

Both teams played it close in the early goings once again as evenly matched teams normally do. The Scarlet Raiders did gain the lead in the same fashion as sets one and two despite a momentum-changing block by Jay-La Guy. Celina Mendez kept the line safe, keeping the ball up for Spears to put in an attacking position. Trailing 16-9, the Dolphins went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead down to two before a Dolphins attacking error ended the run. The Dolphins brought it within one, 20-19, however, a kill by Sharon Starling ignited a run for the Scarlet Raiders that would fuel them to victory.  Starling secured three aces to finish the game and hand Rutgers-Newark their first win of the year.

The Dolphins had a chance to win every set yet it was the Scarlet Raiders’ serves the gave them the edge.  Rutgers-Newark toppled the Dolphins 16-2 in the service ace column while the teams were even in digs at 51. 

O’Malley-Rebovich and Castellano led the way with 10 and six kills, respectively with both hitting over .400.  Spears picked up another 25 assists while Mendez added 12 digs.

The Dolphins will look to rebound this Thursday when they hit the road for the first time this season and to take on Cedar Crest in another non-conference match at 7:00 pm.