A weekend sweep of Canisius College (3-1) and Niagara University (3-0) helped the Fairfield University volleyball team improve to 11-1 in the 2023-2024 conference season, strengthening their hold on first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Leading the way for the Stags across both contests was outside hitter Allie Elliott ‘26, who put down a combined 29 kills in the two outings, including 15 kills and 20 dig double-double against Canisius on Saturday, Oct. 21.
A slow start for the Stags saw them drop the opening set to Canisius 25-20, their first loss in a frame since a 3-1 victory over Quinnipiac University on Oct. 6. Then they faced a deficit as great as 22-15 in the second set, but battled back and held off a set point to steal a 26-24 win.
The third set was even more competitive down the stretch, with Fairfield facing another set point down 26-25, but three straight kills from outside hitter Mikayla Haut ‘25 put things out of reach for the Golden Griffins and the Stags snuck out a 28-26 win.
“Part of being a good team is finding ways to win when you aren’t at your best,” head coach Nancy Somera said in the game’s official press release, “and that’s what we did for a large part of today’s match.”
The trio of clutch time points in the third frame were part of a season-high 21 kill afternoon for Haut, which along with 10 digs earned her a third double-double in the month of October.
With momentum firmly on the side of the Stags, they cruised to an easy 25-13 fourth set victory to close out the match. Also setting a new season high in the match was setter Blakely Montgomery ‘25, who eclipsed her previous best assist mark of 44 by totaling 46 across the four set contest.
In a quick turnaround for the Stags, Sunday’s tilt against Niagara was handled in straight sets, thanks in large part to a stifling defensive effort that limited the Purple Eagles to a .099 hitting percentage.
Supplementing Elliott’s game-leading 14 kills, was a 12 kill afternoon from middle blocker Maya Walker ‘26.
The victory is made all the more impressive for the Stags when considering the fact that Niagara entered the contest on a four-game winning streak, including back-to-back triumphs over Marist College and Quinnipiac, the closest competitors to Fairfield in the MAAC standings.
“[It] was a great defensive match with some amazing, scrappy plays on both sides,” Somera stated in the game’s official press release. “Niagara is a solid team that’s trending in the right direction.”
The Stags will now enjoy a week of rest before heading to Hamden, Conn. on Sunday, Oct. 29, looking to complete a season sweep of Quinnipiac. First serve will be at 1:00 p.m.