The Fairfield University Women’s Volleyball team hosted Quinnipiac University on Saturday, Sept. 29, extending their winning streak to six games. Fairfield University, trained by coach Todd Kress, has a record of 7-8 overall this season and is currently undefeated in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Quinnipiac University has an overall record of 3-12 and now has more MAAC losses than wins with a record of 2-3.
Fairfield was first to get on the board in three of the five matches played, asserting their dominance early on. Although the Quinnipiac Bobcats started the game strong, winning the first two matches, our Stags came back with a vengeance. Fairfield had the first serve of the game, but a quick set to the middle by Quinnipiac earned our rivals a point. Junior Mayda Garcia responded by swinging from the outside to match the point. She registered three points in a row to give Fairfield an early lead.
In this set, Quinnipiac favored shorthanded serves, which threw off Fairfield and caused them to trail behind Quinnipiac. At this point, it was anyone’s game, making it clear that the winner of the set would not necessarily be the team that worked the hardest, but the team that worked the smartest. Kress called a timeout when Quinnipiac was up 17-14. Fairfield’s outside hitter Sonja Radulovic ‘20 returned to the court and immediately found a hole in her opponent’s block, putting the teams within two points of each other. Fairfield tied the game at 19 and again at 22, but ultimately fell to Quinnipiac with a score of 25-22.
Just before the second set, three of Fairfield University’s seniors, Kaitlyn Fisher, Sydney Williams and captain Nora Quinn stepped up to offer their teammates words of encouragement, boosting the Stags’ morale before taking the court. Fairfield assumed a 5-1 rotation. This was possibly done so if Quinnipiac continued the game with short serves, the setter could attack the ball over from the front row. Fairfield and Quinnipiac were neck and neck for the first three points, but Fairfield built up momentum, scoring four points in a row making it 7-3. This prompted Quinnipiac to use their first timeout and then their second and final one of the set just three points later. This time was spent by Quinnipiac to re-strategize, and the timeout served its purpose.
Quinnipiac first-year Kat Miller showed her competitive edge, firing five consecutive serves following the brief break. Miscommunication between Quinnipiac’s middle and outside broke their scoring stretch when the two bobcats both went for the same ball on an overpass. Once again, Fairfield’s Garcia had a kill that kept the competition alive but Quinnipiac defeated the Stags again at 25-22, claiming both sets.
Tensions were high during the third match, as if Fairfield let Quinnipiac begin with too much of a lead, they would likely lose the game without winning a single match. Fairfield had the first serve, but Quinnipiac exuded dominance, earning the first two points. Fairfield first-year Alexis Rich set to Luci Albertson ‘21 who slammed the ball down the middle. This dynamic duo put Fairfield on the board. Fairfield’s Williams contributed two points to her team’s early four point streak.
After Fairfield let up a point by serving it out, Quinnipiac tried to dump it over but was met with an incredible block by Garcia. The junior played a key role in keeping her team in the competition. The Connecticut teams remained within three points of each other for the majority of the set, but Fairfield secured a lead at 23-22. First-year Stag Laura Seeger hit a sharp cross shot bringing her team within one point of assuring that they would play a fourth set. Fairfield’s middle blocker, Albertson blocked Quinnipiac and won the set. 25-22 was the final score for the third time in a row. Quinnipiac was still one set ahead of Fairfield as they concluded this third set.
Two of Fairfield’s first four points were won due to serving faults by Quinnipiac. Maria Pansari wore number 10 for the Bobcats and surrendered a handful of points to the Stags, double touching her sets. Fairfield missed the game point serve, allowing Quinnipiac the serve at 24-20. Quinnipiac’s Miller served into the net, tying the score between the adversaries in won matches 2-2.
They would advance to a fifth match only played to 15 points and able to be won by two. Quinnipiac won the coin toss, choosing to serve first for the last set. Fairfield registered five points as Quinnipiac remained scoreless. When the score was 8-2 Fairfield, the teams switched sides. Kress and assistant coach Julia Anderson reconvened during thetimeout before speaking to their team. Fairfield used their first timeout leading Quinnipiac 10-4.
Radulovic hammered hits that caught Quinnipiac’s Miller on her heels not once, but twice. Quinnipiac seemed fatigued and desperate to make up for 10 points trailing Fairfield 15-6. The game point was won when Quinnipiac blocked a hit into the net.
Our resilient Stags worked past a two match deficit and proved their intelligence and strength in their gameplay. They face Siena College next on Wednesday, Oct. 3 to defend their undefeated MAAC record.