No. 15 MSU volleyball will be hosting a few games of the first round of the NCAA tournament. As the ninth seed in the tournament, MSU will be playing Fairfield University for the first time. With hopes to continue to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, MSU will have to come up with a game plan that allows them to beat Fairfield. Here are three things to know about the Fairfield Stags.
1. Fairfield volleyball is undefeated in their conference
The Stags are an impressive 18-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, MAAC, this year. They had an overall record of 28-5, and their away record was just as impressive at 11-1. The volleyball program hasn’t had an undefeated season since 2006. Being undefeated in the conference, they also took home the MAAC title on Nov. 20 by sweeping in-state rivals, Quinnipiac. This is their record-tying ninth MAAC Championship title.
“We know we have a lot of work in front of us with Fairfield, a team that has a rarely lost and a team that has a lot of confidence going in,” MSU head coach Cathy George said.
2. Fairfield’s head coach is Todd Kress
Kress is the all-time winningest coach in the Fairfield volleyball program history. He is the youngest coach in NCAA history to reach the milestone of 200 wins during his time, leading other volleyball programs like Florida State University and the University at Buffalo. In 2015, Kress was the MAAC coach of the year for the fourth time.
3. The team is led by their two main outside hitters
Junior outside hitters Skyler Day and Megan Theiller lead the team in kills this season. Theiller has 460 kills in total and averages 4.14 per set, with a hitting percentage of .276. Theiller hit a major milestone of 1,000 kills in early November. Day started 110 out of the 111 sets this year and has 474 kills with an average of 4.31 per set and a hitting percentage of .225. Day was also named 2016 MAAC Player of the Year after the Stags clinched their conference championship win.
“They’re grinders, they get out there and they play hard, defensively very strong and keep the ball in play, don’t make a lot errors on their own so we’re going to have to earn our points and work very hard for that,” George said. “We know they are going to be ready and they know how to win. We’ll need to keep our mind on what is it we can control, and that’s what do we do well in our game, and how do that match up against Fairfield.”
No. 15 MSU volleyball will be hosting the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Jenison Field House on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. To follow the coverage of MSU volleyball, follow The State News Sports on Twitter, @thesnews_sports.