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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac volleyball’s undefeated start to MAAC play ends in 3-1 loss to Fairfield

Peyton McKenzie
Sophomore outside hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni, 16, of the Bobcats poises to spike the ball during the teams 3-1 loss against Fairfield University on Friday, October 7, 2023 at Alumni Hall in Fairfield, CT.

FAIRFIELD – Quinnipiac volleyball fell to Fairfield in four sets Friday night, ending a program-record 13 straight wins against MAAC opponents dating back to Oct. 29, 2022, a three-set loss to Fairfield.

For the Bobcats’ first-ever match against the Stags in Fairfield’s new Leo D. Mahoney Arena, they were treated to a raucous crowd of 244 people. For reference, the arena holds up to 3,500 people. On top of that, Fairfield’s venue will be the host site for the 2023 MAAC Volleyball Championship.

“I think this is going to be a great venue for the MAAC Tournament,” Quinnipiac head coach Kyle Robinson said. “In all honesty, it’s an awesome place to play, but I would not like for this to be our home court … You could hear crickets at times in here.”

Regardless of the venue, this rematch of the 2022 MAAC Championship game was a slugfest to start. It was also the return of graduate student Aryanah Diaz at her natural position as a hitter. Diaz has played at libero since Sept. 1. The usual libero, junior Fa’avae Kimsel Moe was back in her spot as starter. 

After a back-and-forth start, Fairfield jumped into the driver’s seat with a 20-13 lead in the first set. Quinnipiac battled all the way back to cut the Fairfield lead to 23-22, but couldn’t finish the job as the Stags took the first set 25-22. 

The next set was the embodiment of the phrase, “Second verse same as the first.” For the majority of the second set, neither team had a lead larger than one. 

Sophomore hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni began to make her case for MAAC Player of the Year in this set. Giovagnoni racked up eight kills in the second set alone, and two straight service aces put the Bobcats at set point 24-22. 

That’s when the wheels fell off. A 4-0 Fairfield run killed any momentum that Quinnipiac had and put the Bobcats against the wall down two sets to none. 

Diaz got into one of her grooves during the third set, notching eight of her 16 total kills on the night. 

Graduate outside hitter Aryanah Diaz, 1, of the Bobcats spikes the ball through Fairfield University’s graduate outside hitter Janna Schlageter, 2, and junior outside hitter Svenja Rodenbüsch, 10, during the teams 3-1 loss against Fairfield University on Friday, October 7, 2023 at Alumni Hall in Fairfield, CT. (Peyton McKenzie)

The Bobcats gained sizable leads throughout most of the set, but nearly relinquished them. Fairfield ended the set on a 6-3 run, but ran out of room on the scoreboard and the Bobcats took their only set of the game 25-21. 

Just as quick as the Bobcats got wind in their sails, it all went away in the fourth set. They lost 25-18, but it never felt that close. 

The fourth set was just a consistent beating from the Stags. While trailing 12-6, Robinson removed Diaz from the match even though she had a double-double. That was when it looked like Quinnipiac knew it was over. 

“(Diaz) wasn’t playing well,” Robinson said. “She wasn’t really scoring the way we needed her to, so we had to make some changes.” 

At that point, Diaz was hitting at a .167 percentage, which wasn’t enough.

“Every time she gets the ball she needs to score,” Robinson said. “Pretty simple. She’s that good.”

The rest of the match was just a rumble to the end. Freshman hitter Leilani-kai Giusta was the only point of note for the rest of the match, knocking down two kills and a service ace after being subbed in for Diaz.

It was just another shaky match for the Bobcats. 

“(Our performance) was mediocre,” Robinson said. “We didn’t compete as well as we should have. As well as we needed to.”

This loss to Fairfield drops Quinnipiac to 3-23 all-time against the Stags and 0-12 all-time on the road. However, it was an improvement from the last time the Bobcats played at Fairfield, a straight-set loss on Oct. 1, 2022, where they lost each set by about eight points on average. 

There’s nowhere to go but up from here. 

“Our team’s resilient,” Robinson said. “We’ll get back to fighting and competing at a much higher level.”

The Bobcats will be back home at Burt Kahn Court on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. for their second matchup against Manhattan in 10 days, the previous a five-set win on Oct. 1.

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About the Contributors
Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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