Click here for the box score.

The Fairfield Stags’ volleyball team has not lost a match since their trip to Hawaii. In the past nine matches, all of which were against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) opponents, the Stags are 9-0, which puts them at first place in the MAAC with an undefeated record. Fairfield swept all three games to win 3-0 against the Iona Gaels on Sunday at Alumni Hall in Fairfield.

The Stags won the first game 30-22, the second game 30-17, and the third game 36-34. The Stags are now 12-6 overall.

The Stags were led by senior Natalie Barba, whose 12 kills tied for most on the team with Jazmin Pa’akaula `08. Barba also had two block assists, which moved her into a second place tie on the Fairfield career block assists list with Corrine Carlson `00, with 264.

Barba felt that the team played well in a pressure situation.

“I think we succeeded under pressure.” said Barba. “We brought the entire team together to take the victory in a tough final game.”

Iona started the first game quickly, taking a 11-10 lead, before a big kill by Kelly Oliver `08, made the score 11-11, followed by a second kill by Oliver on a big spike to give Fairfield the lead, forcing Iona to call a timeout. Fairfield stayed hot coming out of the timeout and went on a 11-4 run, including a five point run that led to a second Iona timeout. Iona crawled back into the match at 29-22, but Fairfield won the final point to win the first game 30-22. Fairfield coach Jeff Werneke felt that the Stags played well in the first game, even after a slow start.

“We started game one a little sluggish, we were uninspired and flat.” said Coach Werneke. “But we woke up midway through the game and played the ball we expect to play every game.”

“We were then able to carry that momentum into the second game, which we were able to win as well, playing good ball once again.” added Coach Werneke.

The Stags went on a second big run, winning seven straight points, on the way to a 30-17 win in game two. Freshman Barbie Thistle led the run, serving on all seven points. In the game Thistle recorded nine of the Stags’ ten service aces, the second most in a single game in Stags’ history. Thistle added forty two assists, five kills, four digs, and two block assists.

The Stags had to fight to win the third game, as it went back and forth the entire way through. The Stags fell down 13-9, but went on yet another run to take a 17-16 lead, led by Thistle. Lindsey Lee `08, spent a good portion of the third game on the bench as Coach Werneke attempted to try other players in a pressure situation.

“It was a good opportunity to see how different players handle a tough situatuon.” said Coach Werneke.

With the Stags’ one point away from losing the third game, at 29-26 Iona, Lee, who had returned to the game, scored three straight kills to tie the game at 29. The Stags and the Gaels went back and forth until a kill from Karlie Urbaniak `09 put the Stags up 35-34, and a block from Thistle ended the game for a 36-34 Stags’ win.

Coach Werneke feels that the team overcame a tough battle to pick up the win in game three.

“It was a back and forth battle, but we are a battle tested team and we overcame the challenge to win.” said Werneke.

“In the past we would have lost this game. But we are used to having to play tough games, we have played top teams like Hawaii and Northwestern and gone into extended games with them, and we now what it takes to execute at the end.” added Werneke.

“It was an up and down match.” said Lee. “We didn’t play to our full potential, we were out of system a lot, but at the end we fought back and showed our character as we got the win.”

Lee believes that the rest of the season will be tough, as it is the first time in MAAC history that each team will have to play each other twice.

“It is tougher now because every team knows each other well.” Lee commented. “Shots that we might have been able to make in the first game, might not work in the second. It will be tougher to win a second game against the MAAC teams.”

Fairfield hits the road for their next four MAAC games, playing Canisius on October 21 in Buffalo, NY. Fairfield beat Canisius 3-1 at Alumni Hall on October 1.

Box Score

Remaining Schedule: Saturday 10/21/06 vs. Canisius at Buffalo, N.Y. 2:00 PM Sunday 10/22/06 vs. Niagara at Lewiston, N.Y. 2:00 PM Thursday 10/26/06 vs. Iona at New Rochelle, N.Y. 7:00 PM Saturday 10/28/06 vs. Marist at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 2:00 PM Sunday 10/29/06 vs. Siena at Fairfield, Conn. 2:00 PM Friday 11/03/06 vs. Rider at Fairfield, Conn. 7:00 PM Saturday 11/04/06 vs. Manhattan at Fairfield, Conn. 2:00 PM Wednesday 11/08/06 vs. St. Peter’s at Jersey City, N.J. 7:00 PM Saturday 11/11/06 vs. Loyola (Md) at Baltimore, Md. 2:00 PM

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