Fairfield sweeps Quinnipiac for MAAC volleyball title
FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield University volleyball team won the MAAC Championship on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Quinnipiac on George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall. The Stags take home their record-tying ninth MAAC Championship with the win. The Stags’ Megan O’Sullivan was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” said Todd Kress, the 2016 MAAC Coach of the Year for a conference-record fifth time. “They are great people who make good decisions on and off the court, and they have worked incredibly hard to get here.”
Fairfield (28-5) earns the MAAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The Stags learn their opponent and destination on Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. when the Selection Show airs live on ESPNU.
Fairfield has now won four of the last five MAAC Championships, going back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 and now in 2015 and 2016. Kress also collects his fourth MAAC Championship, having won in 1997 and 1998 during his first tenure at Fairfield and then returning to win in his two most recent campaigns with the Stags.
Sunday’s victory, which came by scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-23, extends the nation’s longest winning streak to 22 matches.
O’Sullivan had seven kills and three blocks in the win over Quinnipiac, after slamming home a career-high 19 kills with six blocks in Saturday’s semifinal victory over Siena. She is a two-time First Team All-MAAC honoree.
Skyler Day and Megan Theiller — also First Team All-MAAC selections this fall — joined O’Sullivan on the All-Championship Team after each recorded 18 kills against the Bobcats. Day, who is also the 2016 MAAC Player of the Year, eclipsed 1,000 career kills in the match.
Rounding out the attack in Sunday’s contest, Mayda Garcia had three kills, Manuela Nicolini two and Kaitlyn Fisher and Sydney Buckley one apiece. Nicolini and Buckley distributed 23 and 16 assists, respectively.
Defensively, Mallory Bechtold led the way at the net with a match-high 15 digs. Theiller added seven digs and the trio of Day, Fisher and Taylor Rudeen each posted six.
Quinnipiac concludes a landmark season in which the program went 21-13 and reached its first-ever conference championship match at the Division I level. The Bobcats, who improved by 18 matches against going 3-28 last fall, were led Sunday by 11 kills from Kat Miller and 10 by Allison Leigh. Maria Pansari handed out 31 assists for the visitors, and Natalie Alechko had 11 digs.
“We are thankful for the support of the fans that came out to cheer for us yesterday and today,” Kress said Sunday. “The students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff made us all very proud to be a part of the Fairfield University community.”