On Saturday, Nov. 12, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference one-seeded Fairfield volleyball team cruised past Rider University, winning three sets to one. The Stags won the match with set scores of 25-23, 20-25, 25-21 and 25-14 leading to their ninth straight win according to the match official recap.
Senior KJ Johnson had a team-leading 16 kills hitting at 33.3% followed by Allie Elliot ‘26 with 15 kills hitting at 26.2%, compared to the team average of 28.1%. Elliot also scored 11 digs, getting her third double-double of her freshman year. The Stags were also aided by Ella Gardiner ‘24, graduate student Sara Daniels and Sabria Cooper ‘23 with nine, seven and five kills respectively.
Overall, the Stags had one less kill than Rider with 58 to their 59. However, Fairfield had roughly half of the errors compared to Rider with 15 compared to their 30. In addition, they also hit better with roughly an 11% better hitting percentage than Rider. Blakely Montgomery ‘25 also had three kills and a team-leading 33 assists from her setter position.
The Stags also had an impressive defensive day with 14 blocks to Rider’s four. Gardiner and Daniels led the defensive effort with seven and six blocks respectively.
“It doesn’t matter what the standings look like and whether or not a win or a loss can change that, the approach was the same today and will be the same tomorrow. It’s always about getting better each day and working toward being the best version of ourselves when we get to Orlando – but Orlando is now only a few days away,” said Head Coach Todd Kress in the official recap of the event. “I like the productivity we got out of Allie and KJ on the left side today. We still need to connect better with our middles, and our defensive effort needs to be significantly better, it was not up to our standard today.”
The next day, Fairfield hosted Saint Peter’s University and swept them in a dominating performance on their senior day, ending their regular season on a high note. The win was the Stags tenth straight, giving them a 26-6 overall record and are 17-1 in MAAC play. The Peacocks ended a rough season with a record of 1-30 and were 1-17 in MAAC play.
Fairfield dominated on the stat sheet with 43 kills to the Peacocks’ 22, half of the errors with 11 to their 22, 58 points to St. Peters 28 and double the assists with 42 to St. Peter’s 21 according to the match’s official recap. The Stags also had a 37.6% hitting percentage, while the Peacocks had a 0% hitting percentage according to the match’s official recap.
The Stags honored their five seniors: Joelle Battles ‘23, Morgan Doll ‘23, Maddy Jerdonek ‘23, Johnson and Nya Jones ‘23 along with Daniels. Battles, Doll, Jerdonek and Jones have been with the Stags for each of their four straight MAAC Regular Season Championships along with their MAAC Tournament Championships with two NCAA postseason appearances in 2019 and 2021. Johnson was a transfer last year from Baylor, and during her time at Fairfield she earned a MAAC Player of the Year award and Fairfield volleyball’s first-ever All-America selection. Daniels was an undergraduate at Saint Louis University and this year is her first at Fairfield.
“This senior class has been a special group, winning four regular season titles and two MAAC Championships. They were also so important to how we bounced back after seeing our spring 2021 season end prematurely due to COVID. They could have let that be a real long-term setback for our program, but I was so proud of the way they helped to lead us both on and off the court in that fall 2021 championship season,” Kress stated. “And beyond the wins and losses, what makes them special is their integrity, their character and their passion for the sport and for life.”
Haut led the Stags with 15 with and a 41.4 hitting percentage, Johnson followed with 10 kills of her own. Jerdonek had a career-high 27 assists at her setter position. On the defensive side, the Stags once again dominated as can be seen by the zero hitting percentage for St. Peter’s and Fairfield’s nine blocks.
The Stags will carry their momentum into the MAAC Championship which begins on Wednesday, Nov. 16. However, the Stag’s first match is Thursday.
“Next week is going to be an ‘all hands on deck’ situation,” Kress commented. “We expect to be pushed by some teams playing really good volleyball in our conference right now, and we need everybody to be ready and to trust each other no matter what lineup is out on the court.”
This was the women’s volleyball team’s final match in the RecPlex as from here on out they will play in the new Leo D. Mahoney arena, according to the game’s official recap.
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