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Women’s Volleyball: Fairfield sweeps Manhattan

By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]

FAIRFIELD, CT- The Manhattan Jaspers made the trip up to Fairfield to take on the Stags in a MAAC conference game Saturday afternoon. Each team had only one loss in the conference so something had to give. The home Stags took the win with a sweep of the visitors in part due to a varied attack.

Set 1 was the closest as Fairfield would actually need a 26th point to fend off the Jaspers. The two teams rallied back and forth and Fairfield spent most of the set in the lead but not by much.

Offense for the Stags included a Kendal Dirkin put down to open the set, Kara Reis served up an ace, and Rachel Romansky had a turning set over early. Haililani Pokipala had two kills early on, and Lauren Balmert served up a pair of aces. Dirkin had a kill and right after another smash after receiving the set from Romansky. Later Reis added another service ace, and her next serve went unreturned though didn’t count as an ace. Romansky had a put over for a kill, and later Pokipala struck again with a wham. Towards the end Brianna Dixion picked up some kills including launching a rocket for the 23rd point. Caitlin Stapleton picked up a kill to the corner and also added the set winning kill. Pokipala had a great diving save late in the set as well as part of the defensive efforts.

Manhattan’s offense included a kill from Mariana Furquim early, a kill from LaKell Havens after reviving a set, Malia McGuinness had a solo block, Brittany DeGagne had a put down of an errant Fairfield pass, Havens and Alexa Lampasona each had kills mid set. Lampasona would add another long afterward. Hollegn Henderson set the ball to Havens who smashed it in later, and they also benefited from some Fairfield errors McGuinness whacked the ball off a block, Furquim hit a ball off the defenders and out of play sideways, later following a great dig from Kelsey Huntoon they picked up a point on an errant Fairfield attack. McGuinness also had the teams last point of the set.

Set 2 featured the two teams also going back and forth until the 13-13 mark. Then Fairfield grabbed a small lead and clung to it to hold non to a 25-21 win despite Manhattan’s come back attempt. Stags offense came in part from a cross court spike from Dixion to open play up and she added another kill immediately. Lauren Balmert had a back court swing that landed the ball in anyway. Later Lindsay Weaver took a set and positively smashed it over. She added a cross court rocket soon behind that. Dirkin had a tap over for a point and Stapleton struck again, as did Pokipala. Later Dirkin would pick up the team’s 13 point and Stapleton and Weaver would share a block. Romansky stepped into serve and managed an ace when it popped off the defender’s hand to the floor, Dixion, Stapleton and Dirkin all added kills in the late going and Pokipala snagged a block. It would be Dixion who ended the set with a kill as well.

Offense for the Jaspers included a service ace from Furquim, McGuinness typhooned a ball into the Fairfield zone, and DeGagne used a light touch. The pair shared a block not long after. Havens and Lampasona also shared a block, later on Henderson had a lighter kill, and after a fashion McGuinness let a hard spike fly, to be followed by a block from Henderson and DeGagne and a kill from DeGagne as well. Henderson had a great defensive save during this. Far later DeGagne added a kill, and Furquim had a huge kill of their own but that would be it for their scoring.

Set 3 really went Fairfield’s way as they reached a 25-16 set win. Early on Dixion and Weaver each had kills, later Dixion would strike again. Romansky served up another ace, and Stapleton would launch a shot which ricocheted off a Jasper and into the pep band. She then had another big spike and teamed with Dirkin on a block. Both shared a block after that too. Romansky then fed Stapleton and she had a smash. Carson Mata had a kill as well off the defender and out of play. Dirkin landed a kill just in bounds, and Reis had another service ace. Dixion added a block to her contributions, and later Romansky fed Weaver who picked up a kill. Two more kills were caused by Stapleton, and very late in the set Dirkin tapped the ball over the front line, Dixion then spiked a ball just in bounds, and Dirkin struck yet again. At match point Reis had yet another service ace to end it.

Manhattan point scoring included Havens crushing the ball over the net early, and Furquim adding another kill as well as numerous Fairfield errors, and Henderson’s whacking down a Fairfiled over pass. She and Havens each had another killl, and McGuinness sent the ball into a back gap.

On the day, Dixion had 12 kills, Dirkin 11, and Stapleton 9, with Pokipala and Weaver’s 5 each adding to the totals. Dirkin had no errors on the day for a .647 hit percentage and Dixion’s was .346. Romansky had 41 assists on the day, and Pokipala actually led the team in digs with 16, with Balmert having 10, Romansky 7, and Reis 5. Stapleton was part of 3 blocks, Dirkin was part of 3 including 1 solo, Weaver was part of 2. Reis had 4 service aces, Balmert and Romansky each had 2.

McGuinness had 8 kills for Manhattan Furquim 7, Henderson and Havens both had 5. Henderson had 23 assists, and Julie Bies had 10 digs. Manhattan had only 2 service aces on the day. DeGagne and Havens each took part in 2 blocks.

Head Coach Mark Jones saw his Jaspers team drop to 4-2 in the MAAC and 11-7 overall, and Fairfield’s Alija Pittenger could celebrate a 7-1 conference record and a 10-8 overall one.

Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, verified against the official play by play if possible. [Official box score was posted on the official athletics website.] Reports focus on offense since it is easier to track but note defensive play whenever possible. It is difficult to note things like digs and assists although they are no doubt vital to the game. Also, a lot happens in a volleyball game, far more than can fit into a report, so this just notes some of it.