A decade can seem like a long time to anyone. College athletes only get four years to put on their school’s uniform and play the sport they love. Most teams can only dream of winning their conference title, let alone doing so more than once within those four years.
For the Fairfield University Women’s Volleyball team, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship win over the Iona Gaels marked the 10th time the Stags would reach the postseason, and advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Fairfield volleyball’s 10 MAAC Championship wins mark a decade of Fairfield’s reign. Regardless of what happens in the tournament’s next round, this can only be accomplished with constant hard work and tenacity — two traits this year’s team embodied, carrying on Fairfield Volleyball’s legacy.
Led by eighth year head coach Todd Kress, the Stags’ next stop in the NCAA tournament led them to The University of Texas at Austin, against the No. 2 seeded Texas Longhorns in the first round Friday, Dec. 1.
While the Stags fell to the Longhorns, they ended their season with a solid record of 25 wins and seven losses, which is something to be proud of. Senior outside hitter Megan Theiller was the Stag’s greatest offensive threat that night with 15 kills, as well as eight digs in her final game as a Stag.
Fellow senior and outside hitter Skyler Day dished out eight kills and six digs as well. Both players made huge impacts during their time at Fairfield, with Theiller finishing her career with a total of 1,288 kills, and Day ending her career with a total 1,305 kills — in only three years of play as a Stag. Senior Sydney Buckley added three assists as the setter for the Stags, helping the offense flow as she has done throughout her four years at Fairfield.
Texas posed as a tough opponent for the Stags, with sets of 25-16, 25-18, 25-17 in favor of the Longhorns. At the start of the first set, the Stags stayed right with the Longhorns. Both teams went on back-and-forth runs until the Stags could not recover from an 8-0 Longhorn run that would ultimately decide the game for Fairfield.
Texas continued to push while the Stags fought hard to bounce back, but ultimately the Longhorns prevailed. Regardless of the loss, the Stags have everything to be proud of. The seniors hang up their jerseys with three consecutive MAAC Championships under their belt — an accomplishment not many can say they have. The team persevered throughout the entirety of the game, once again exemplifying the grit that got them to the Longhorn’s court in Texas.
The Fairfield University Women’s Volleyball team has been a dominant force as a team on campus and in the MAAC Conference. With so much success comes constant practice and improvement, and the Stags must continue to look ahead toward next season.
“I’m very proud of how we fought as a team and gave Texas a competitive match. It’s awesome to have consecutive MAAC titles and back-to-back undefeated season,” said defensive specialist Jamie Calandro ‘20. “However, that being said, we are already looking forward to bettering ourselves to hopefully get the same result next year with a much different group. Our captain always says ‘be humble, stay hungry’ and as a team that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
While the Fairfield Women’s Volleyball Team must sadly say goodbye to three outstanding seniors, the future’s still bright for the team.