After beginning the season with three consecutive invitational tournaments, the Marist volleyball team played their first home match of the season at McCann Arena to open up conference play against the Fairfield Stags. This also happened to be the home debut of new head coach Sean Byron.
Despite it being the team’s home opener, the excitement around Byron and the volleyball team couldn’t be felt much in the beginning. It would take about two minutes for the crowd got into it, when Marist scored its first point.
Marist’s first point was a kill from senior outside hitter Nikki DeSerpa. She is currently in eighth place on Marist’s all-time kills list, with 984, and is only 31 away from taking over seventh place.
Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the first set. Neither of them went on a scoring run large enough to bury their opponent until the end, when the Stags closed it out on a 7-0 run and won by a score of 25-18.
Right as the teams were switching sides for the next set, it was as if the McCann Arena atmosphere underwent a seismic shift.
The majority of the Marist football team entered the building. They tried hyping up both the volleyball team and the rest of the crowd the minute they stepped onto the floor.
They were rowdy. They were loud. They made their presence felt by the Red Foxes, Stags, and the referees.
When the referees made two calls, that could have gone either way, against the Foxes, the football players made sure to voice their displeasure with one simultaneous “Boo!”
The rowdiness appeared to work in the beginning. The Red Foxes fed off the football team’s energy and played more aggressively, while Fairfield made more mistakes.
“It was great. Those guys were pretty fired up and it was loud. It created a great environment,” said Byron. “It kept our kids going, and it was probably one of the reasons why we played so well in game two.”
It was all for not at the end of the set, however. Even behind rallying cries from the football team, the Red Foxes could not hold off the Stags.
“We were where we wanted to finish,” said Byron. “We got some bad breaks, but that happens.” The Red Foxes squandered their late lead in the second set and lost it by a score of 26-24.
The football team, and their rowdiness, left the match after the second set. Down 2-0, Coach Byron hoped his team could find a rally.
They couldn’t. Marist played from behind the majority of the third set.
“We could’ve gotten rattled and folded up camp and gone home,” said Byron. “They fought. They battled back and we were in it until we erred our way out of it at the end.”
The score of the third set was 25-21, Fairfield. The Red Foxes were swept in a rather disappointing fashion.
“It all comes down to execution. [Fairfield] executed where they could, and I think that’s the disappointing part,” said Byron. “We have a much higher ceiling, and I think we can get a lot better.”
The Red Foxes fell to 2-8 on the season, and 0-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Their next match is against the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in McCann Arena.
Edited by David Bieber