STEVEN MACRI
Sports Editor

The wait is over. The Fairleigh Dickinson University women’s volleyball Head Coach Al Campora reached the milestone of 300 career wins during the final tournament of the season against Ramapo
College.

The Devils defeated Ramapo during the fifth set during a tightly contested match-up. FDU lost their previous two matches to nationally ranked Eastern University and Manhattanville College before notching Campora’s 300th win.

“We played some tough matches in between,” Campora said. “We played Eastern, which is a nationally ranked team. When the team had the opportunity, they came through. The team was a little disappointed they hadn’t beaten Manhattanville here at FDU. I didn’t even know they knew about the record … They did it against Ramapo, which was nice.”

At one point it seemed like there was a chance that Campora would have to wait until the 2014 season to try to achieve 300 wins.

About the chance that he would have to wait until the next season, Campora said, “Then I would have to wait until next year, that’s all. It was nice. I was hoping we could get it this year based on the setbacks we’ve had the past season and I wasn’t really sure we were going to reach that milestone. I figured we would do it next year.”

The Devils saw a major improvement to their win total from the previous season.

During this one year time period, the women’s volleyball team jumped from four wins in 2012 to 16 during the 2013 campaign.

FDU has seen some adversity during the past year that has forced them to participate in matches with only nine players this season, but they overcame the circumstances to hover around the .500 mark for most of the year.

“I told the girls this has probably been one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had as a coach,” Campora said. “They are all good and they all tried their best. They went out every match and played to their potential and they literally broke their backs to be the best team they could be.

We were small in numbers and I really have to hand it to them because they persevered over a lot of nonsense.”

The 2013 season also saw a personal mark reached. Four year starter and senior captain Helena Riede broke the Devils’ single-season kills record by totaling 460 for the season. Riede had a monster performance against Ramapo with 34 putaways.

Campora said, “Everybody congratulated me for my 300th win, but Helena Riede got the single season kills record.” He added, “I’m excited and happy Helena got that record.”

The Devils look to rebuild and return to the dominant reputation they once had in the Freedom Conference.

FDU was 29-10 in 2011 and lost in the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament that year. FDU also made it to the Freedom Conference championship game during the 2010 season and won the ECAC Tournament.

Campora explained how the Devils will become successful again: “We just have to bring in more talent and we can’t do it with just nine people.” He later said, “This year we are trying to bring in a large freshman class.”

The Devils have had some seasons to remember while Campora has been leading the troops. Each one has been special to the man patrolling the sidelines.

“I remember the great seasons that we’ve had,” Campora said. “We had two teams go 33-8, which is a great accomplishment. We’ve been to the championship match three times. Next year we want to get back. If I can get good kids that are high on talent, I think we can give Eastern a run for their money.”

Campora has seen some great years with the women’s volleyball team. He has helped the program see a dramatic turnaround during his 15 years of coaching at the school. This monumental moment has been in the back of coach Campora’s mind since he eclipsed the 200-win mark several years ago.

“It was something I thought about since we won my 200 a couple of years ago,” Campora explained. “It’s a relief that it’s over with and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Now we have to come back next year and try to get into the championship round again.”

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