Good things come in threes, and for the Fairfield University women’s volleyball team this past week proved exactly that. The Stags continued their winning streak in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, taking down the Siena College Saint Bernards on Wednesday, Oct. 30, the Iona Gaels on Nov. 1, and the Manhattan College Jaspers on Sunday, Nov. 3.
In their contest against Siena, Fairfield took three of the four sets only giving up one, sealing the fate of the Saint Bernards. After the Stags took the first set, Siena battled for and won the second one 27-25, turning the contest into a tie. However, this year’s roster for the women’s volleyball team has resilience in their blood, as they owned the court for the next two sets beating Siena by 8 points and 6 points respectively (25-17, 25-19).
While the Iona Gaels took the MAAC Championship title in 2018, the Stags plan to continue asserting their dominance as a team and in the conference in order to go as far as they can this year. Although the Stags were given the #2 slot in the MAAC Preseason Rankings, they are planning on giving their all to show that the #1 spot will be where the squad ends up. Their effort has clearly shown, now that the Stags are still undefeated in the MAAC 16-0, with an overall record of 18-4.
“We don’t talk about our record or past wins for long. We have a ‘next game’ mentality which is really important,” senior defensive specialist Jamie Calandro said of the team’s mindset going forward. “We all need to keep that mentality and keep getting better every single day so we can get the end result we want.”
During Wednesday’s contest against Siena, both Mayda Garcia ‘20 and Joelle Battles ‘23 notched 15 kills each to contribute to the Stags’ victory, with Kaylie Butts ‘21 adding 14 kills. Senior Manuela Nicolini kept the Stags’ offense moving with 57 assists, two aces, as well as 17 digs and two blocks. First-year Morgan Doll also added 17 digs and two assists for the Stags.
In the team’s match on Friday, Nov. 1 against Iona, the defending 2018 MAAC Champions, the Stags defeated the Gaels 3-1. Senior setter Manuela Niccolini helped with the flow of the offense again with 34 assists and 16 digs, while Luci Albertson ‘21 added 13 kills to go with the 12 kills contributed by right side hitter Joelle Battles ‘23.
The Stags kept the momentum going for their match against Manhattan College on Sunday, Nov. 3 in Manhattan, NY, making this their 16th consecutive win this season. Kaylie Butts reached a career high of 19 kills in the 3-0 sweep against the Jaspers (6-21 overall, 3-11 in the MAAC). Niccolini added 44 assists in the game to set up Albertson (10 kills), Battles (9 kills), Laura Seeger ‘22 (8 kills) and Julia Kallen ‘22 (4 kills) with ample opportunities for kills. This was senior setter Niccolini’s third consecutive double-double.
The fight to remain undefeated in the MAAC continues at home on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. on the George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall, where the Stags will take on the Marist Red Foxes (11-12, 9-4 MAAC).
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