It was a picture-perfect ending for the seniors of the Fairfield women’s volleyball team as they defeated Canisius College 3-1 on Sunday. The six seniors of the team were presented with pictures, posters and hugs from family and teammates as they were honored for being one of the most successful senior classes in program history.

The 3-1 win against Canisius was just another one of the accomplishments the seniors have achieved with their four years on the team as they prepare for upcoming Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament play.

“We’re just all in volleyball mode,” said graduate captain Carsen Mata ‘14. “We all have our classes and tests and homework, but we’re just trying to focus on the positive and important things which happen every time the tournament rolls around.”

All six seniors were able to start on the court for the Stags as they quickly gained a lead over Canisius. Fairfield dominated the Golden Griffins, totaling 18 kills in the first match against Canisius’ seven kills. Junior Maddie Fitzpatrick, who will be playing her last season with the Stags, and Marilyn Peizer ‘15, made the first set victory look effortless, posting eight of the 18 kills. Mata, who is in her last year of eligibility for the team, added to the win assisting 12 of the 25 points. At the end of the first set, Fairfield led 1-0 after a 25-16 win over the Golden Griffins.

The Golden Griffins upped their game in the second set, as they went point by point against Fairfield. Although Megan Theiller ‘18 made a huge contribution to the court as she stepped up to a new spot for the game, ultimately, Canisius was able to get points off of errors and the 18 kills they made throughout the second set.

The loss in the second set was just what Fairfield needed to get back into the game. After one error from Canisius at the start of the game, Hadley Orr ‘16 made an impressive two kills, putting her team ahead 3-1. Senior Camille Coffey, who is having her best defensive season yet after stepping up as libero, posted six digs for the team, getting the win for her team 25-19, putting the overall score at 3-1.

“I learned a new position this year, I’ve never played left back before,” said Coffey.  “So I learned pretty quickly, we just went for it, and I had the support of everyone.”

The libero continued to anchor her team as they headed to the fourth, and luckily, the final set of their Senior Day matchup. Theiller and Carsen dominated the Golden Griffins with assists and digs. Senior Caitlin Stapleton racked in a total of three kills during the fourth set, but led the team with 18 kills during the entire game. The senior class brought in a total of 49 of the 60 kills made during the match, proving how much of a driving force they have been to the team. The Stags ended the game defeating Canisius 3-1, posting a final score of 25-23 in the final set.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game of volleyball I have ever played, but it took a lot of heart and it meant a lot to us, as seniors, that everyone put in the effort to defend this house one last time for us,” said Peizer.

As a result of their last and final win in Alumni Hall, the seniors and the rest of the team have secured a fourth seed spot in the upcoming MAAC tournament as they take on Rider University.

“We just want to win, we just want to fight and grit it out. It’s going to be a roller coaster out there, but we are used to that,” said Mata. “We’ve been in this position before, so we’re just really excited for some tough matches, but some fun matches.”

Mata emotionally thanked her team for everything they’ve done for her during her time with the University. The humble captain stands fifth in all-time program history for digs per set.

“This team makes me look good. They make this so easy. They just listen and respect everyone on the team,” said Mata. “It’s easy because I have bunch of teammates that just love the sport and volleyball and each other.”

The love and respect that the team has for one another is one of the top reasons the team has seen such success. As the team takes on Rider, the senior class will look to get their third MAAC championship before they finally say goodbye to their family.

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