The dominant Fairfield University Women’s volleyball team has made Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history for years.
Despite their success, the team was unable to conquer Marist College on Wednesday, Oct. 12, a close contest that ended in a 3-2 loss according to the game’s official recap. The Stags put up a hard fight against the Red Foxes, pushing through a five-set match of back-and-forth play. This was the team’s first MAAC loss of the season, with the Stags now 7-1 in conference play and 13-6 overall, according to their official schedule.
The reigning MAAC Player of the Year, senior outside hitter KJ Johnson ‘23 led the team with nineteen kills, including thirteen in the last two sets. Setter Blakely Montgomery ‘25 led the team defensively, achieving thirty-four assists and four kills according to the game’s official box score.
This fall season marks Coach Todd Kress’s ninth season of his second term, and his thirteenth campaign overall with the program. Coach Todd Kress is the all-time winningest coach in program history. A seven-time MAAC Champion and eight-time MAAC Coach of the Year, Kress is looking to emulate the immaculate performances of years past.
The Stags then traveled to Saint Peter’s to take on the Peacocks to begin their road trip. They swept the Peacocks 3-0 on Saturday, Oct. 15, dominating in almost every category on the stat sheet. The defeat left the Peacocks still winless at 0-23 on the season and 0-9 in MAAC play, according to their official schedule.
The Stags had a .344 hitting percentage, whereas the Peacocks had a .064 winning percentage. The Stags also had 41 kills to the Peacocks’ 21. This marked the sixth time the Stags have had a hitting percentage over .300 as a squad.
Senior KJ Johnson dominated with 11 kills with a .36 hitting percentage. Close behind were graduate students Sara Daniels and Maya Walker ‘26, who each had eight and six kills respectively. Blakely Montgomery ‘25 contributed 27 assists, five kills, eight digs, one ace, one block and a .344 hitting percentage. On the defensive side, libero Noelle Carey ‘24 led the team with seventeen digs.
“We had a balanced attack offensively today. It was important to get our middles and opposites involved in our transition offense,” said Head Coach Todd Kress in the match official recap. “We still have a number of things to improve upon going into tomorrow and the second half of MAAC play, but I’m confident in this group to stay committed to getting better and to make the necessary changes.”
The Stags then went to Rider University for a rematch of last year’s MAAC championship. Fairfield emerged with another 3-0 sweep to bring their record to 15-6 overall and 9-1 in the MAAC while dropping Rider to 5-15 and 3-7 in the MAAC.
Fairfield had 40 kills in comparison to Rider’s twenty-seven, giving them the advantage they needed to win the match. Fairfield’s hitting percentage was .186 while Rider had only a .072.
Even though the Stags won 3-0 all three sets required a Stag comeback to win. According to the game’s official box score, in the first set Fairfield was down 13-7 and came back to win the set 25-20. In the second set, the Stags went down 4-0 at the start and then went on to win 25-21. Finally, in the third set, the Stags jumped out to an early lead going up 13-8 and then going down 18-16. The Stags then went on a run to win 25-20 and complete the 3-0 sweep.
“It’s good to be heading back to Fairfield with two more conference wins, but as a team, we need to raise the standard on our side of the net,” said Kress in the match’s official recap. “We need to cut down on the errors that are created by our lack of execution and not our opponent making plays. We’ve seen how successful we can be when we focus and execute, and we need to get back to playing that brand of volleyball if we want to be in a good position heading down the stretch and into November. We have four weeks left in the regular season, and making improvements and being dialed in has to start with our next practice on Tuesday.”
The Stags will play Niagara University at home on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. For more information, visit fairfieldstags.com.