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Pirates Struggle in Losses to Northern Arizona, LaSalle

The tri-state area was hit with the full force of fall weather today, as cool temperatures and swirling winds brought summer to a brief halt. Unfortunately, the Seton Hall volleyball team did nothing to lift the spirits of the fans inside Walsh Gymnasium, as the Pirates lost in straight sets to both Northern Arizona and LaSalle.

Northern Arizona, a WAC school located in Flagstaff, Arizona, dispatched the Pirates 25-12, 25-20, and 25-12. After being overmatched in set one by the Lumberjacks, the Pirates hung around in set two, rallying from an early 7-4 deficit to tie the set at eight after kills from Amanda Rachwal and Hayley Gasser and an errant strike from Northern Arizona. Northern Arizona seized control from there, extending its lead to 18-11 and fending off a Pirate rally that closed the gap to two at 22-20 before pulling away and winning the set 25-20.

The second frame against Northern Arizona was one bright spot in an otherwise dismal afternoon and evening for the Pirates, as they had 11 kills in the set, including three from Rachwal and two from Gasser. Three freshmen also stepped up in the morning match – Grace Rosenberg had 11 assists and nine digs, Julia Wilkins led the team with seven kills and Raygan Murray added a team-high 12 digs.

Photo via SHU Athletics

Game two followed almost the same script as game one. LaSalle, out of the Atlantic 10 conference, sank the Pirates ship quickly winning in straight sets 25-17, 25-17, and 25-19. The Pirates were competitive for most of set one, narrowing the Explorers’ lead to 12-11 after a series of excellent serves by Rosenberg that set up kills by Rachwal and Reece Koehler. However, the Explorers pulled away to win set one 25-17. Set two saw the Pirates again hang around initially, pulling within 13-11 but fading away as the set wore on.

Perhaps the most exciting moment of the day for Pirates fans came in set three of the LaSalle game when the Pirates took a brief lead on an attack error by LaSalle and a kill by Koehler at 12-10 but quickly ceded four straight points to LaSalle and lost set three 25-19. Rachwal led the Pirates in game two with six kills.

Assistant coach Simone Asque highlighted Rachwal as a positive in an otherwise rough season so far.

“There’s definitely been a lot of consistency offensively from Amanda Rachwal,” Asque said. “She’s done a really good job.”

Asque also added that the 0-5 start to the season can be attributed to youth.

“We have a lot of new faces, new players on the team, so we’re still trying to get the right chemistry. We’ve been moving pieces around with our starting lineup, trying to find the best fit,” Asque said.

The Pirates return to action on Saturday with two games, taking on Binghamton at 11 a.m. and Northeastern at 7 p.m.

Matthew Collins can be reached at or on Twitter @Matt98533108.

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