On a chilly Sunday afternoon, the Stags heated things up with a vigorous volleyball game against conference rival, the Marist Red Foxes. Although the Stags lost to Siena in a tough match the day before, they rose above it and beat the Red Foxes 3-1.

The starting lineup was Megan Theiller ‘18, Carsen Mata ‘14, Camille Coffey ‘15, Megan O’Sullivan ‘17, Lindsay Weaver ‘15, Hadley Orr ‘16 and Marilyn Peizer ‘15.

“We had a really disheartening match against Siena, so that was really frustrating. But we came back today and,” Orr said jokingly, “punched them in the mouth.”

The Red Foxes started the first point of the set with a long rally. But, the Stags came right back with a forceful attack and from there, managed to get ahead in the set.

Peizer played a huge role by making six powerful attacks that ultimately led the team to their first set win 25-20. Every time she would spike the ball, Marist had a reason to worry.

According to Peizer, “It really comes down to practice. It’s a safe place where you can be hitting extreme shots at extreme angles so that when it comes time for the game, it’s almost like second nature. Everybody remembers a good hit in volleyball, but it’s really a team effort that leads to the spike.”

Throughout the game, the Stags and Red Foxes were jumping and diving in the air for the ball. The atmosphere and plays were so intense that there were even times when the ball would fly into the stands with players leaping out to try and keep the ball in play.

“It’s heart, fight and relentless pursuit,” said Peizer. “Even if the ball is shanked off to the side, our defenders always go after it. It helps when you can trust your teammates and they play with a hundred percent effort.”

In the second set, the Red Foxes made a quick comeback, starting off the set with a 10-2 lead. Marist would regain momentum and go on to win the set 25-21.

“Energy is so important in volleyball. It’s such a momentum game that if we don’t have energy and if the momentum is on the other side of the court, they’re probably winning,” Bella Guanciale ‘17 said.

However, the Stags would regain the momentum in the next set. The players attribute Head Coach Kress for keeping them maintained and even-keeled with an effective use of timeouts.

“I think the biggest thing that really helped us in that game was when we started to drop, [Coach Kress] called a timeout, we collected ourselves and even on the court we came in and collected ourselves and moved forward,” Orr said.

The third set had a lot of close rallies, but the Red Foxes were ahead 24-21, needing just one more point to win the set. However, the Stags swept them away after Orr led the team with a spike, winning three straight points to tie the set. Shortly after, the Stags won 26-24 to lead Marist 2-1. The Stags would also win the fourth set at the same score after a variety of breathtaking recoveries to ultimately win the match.

“Marist is one of the best teams on the schedule. For us, it was like a pride match. We wanted to protect our house and be able to set the tone going into the MAAC Tournament, since this was the last time we would see them before then,” Peizer said.

It’s sufficient to say that the Stags and Red Foxes were neck and neck and that both teams have tremendous ability. However, today wasn’t about who strategized or executed better, but about playing with their hearts.

“Strategy isn’t always the Xs and Os of the game. Our strategy is about heart and mind because we know that we have the skills and we can figure it out ourselves. So it’s a matter of heart and just coming together as a team,” Orr said.

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