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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Volleyball struggles to find consistency in new season

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Photo courtesy of ionagaels.com
Iona’s 12 aces against LIU are second-highest in a three-set match over the last six-plus seasons.

The Iona Volleyball team has started their 2023 season with a 2-5 start. Their .286 winning percentage is good for third best in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s standings. Iona’s pair of wins are the second-highest total in the standings, tying them with Canisius, Marist and Quinnipiac, but slotting them just below Fairfield’s three.  

 

The Gaels began play on Aug. 25 with a three-game set against Temple University in the 2023 Cherry and White Challenge. The Temple Owls won all three games at their home court, McGonigle Hall, with two scores of 25-16 and one of 25-18.  

 

Sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie Wiggins contributed to the Gaels’ stat sheet with seven kills and digs respectively, while senior libero, Hope Matschner, totaled 16 digs of her own.  

 

Iona bounced back on the second and final day of the Cherry and White Challenge, starting the outing with a 3-0 sweep over Long Island University. Wiggins once again led the way for Iona, recording the fifth double-double of her career. Wiggins’ .419 mark and ace helped her to a 16-point total, a career-best for a three-set affair.  

 

Graduate right side hitter, Morgan Madasz, racked up an ace of her own and combined with senior middle blocker Jen Soto to tally up twelve kills.  

 

The Gaels fell to Lehigh University to end the day, despite leading the match 2-1 at one point. Three Iona players posted double-digit kill totals on the afternoon and Matschner led with 26 digs.  

 

Following the 3-2 loss, Iona headed to the Hynes Center for their home-opener against Hofstra on Aug. 29. The Maroon and Gold dropped all three sets to Hofstra, getting outscored 75-54 on the day.  

 

After getting outhit by Hofstra in the first set .194 – .083, the Gaels fared much better in the last two frames. Hofstra held a commanding 13-8 lead in the middle of set two at one point, but Iona evened the score at 16-16 following an invigorating 8-3 run. The Gaels would later drop the game by a score of 25-19. Soto took home five of Iona’s eight kills and hit .500 without committing an error in 10 attempts.  

 

The Maroon and Gold once again rallied with a solid 8-4 stretch in the final set but fell after Hofstra snagged 10 of the final 13 points.  

 

Following a two-day rest, the volleyball team traveled to Richmond, Virginia to compete in the 2023 Virginia Commonwealth University Classic.  

 

VCU defeated Iona in all three of their sets during the tournament’s opener, but the Gaels put up a valiant effort in the second set, narrowly losing 26-24.  

 

During Iona’s second matchup against Radford, the Gaels tied the match at two games apiece after winning the third and fourth sets. The deciding fifth set was a close 15-13 victory for Radford, who were aided by Ana Brangioni’s double-double. 

 

The Gaels did not come up empty-handed during their trip to Richmond, completing action with a 3-1 set win over Georgetown. Soto posted a team-leading 11 kills for the outing, backed up by freshman Ezzie Thompson’s season-high nine of her own.  

 

The Gaels will pick things up again on Sept. 7 as the 2023 Iona Volleyball Tournament begins with a home afternoon matchup versus Fordham. 

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Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

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