35° New Rochelle, NY
The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Opening round win not enough to maintain Gaels’ momentum

Photo courtesy of ionagaels.com
Iona broke their season series tie with Marist thanks to a 3-2 victory on Nov. 17.

The Iona University volleyball team finished their 2023 season after a pair of playoff matchups in Fairfield, Conn. on Nov. 17 and 18.  

After a 3-1 set loss to Niagara University on Senior Day five days earlier, the Gaels looked to open up the postseason with a win against three-seeded MAAC rival, Marist College.  

It was a back-and-forth battle throughout, as the two teams split the first four matches to bring it to a deciding fifth set. 

Marist jumped out to an early 4-3 lead in the final, but Iona caught fire moments later, surging to a 10-3 run that was too much for the Red Foxes to overcome. Senior Morgan Madasz and rookie Ava DeGuzman were vital to that stretch, each recording two kills apiece.  

Sophomore Mackenzie Wiggins brought the Gaels to match point with a kill of her own and despite a brief 4-0 run by Marist, Iona sealed the deal with a kill from senior Jen Soto.  

Iona hit a combined .177 as a team with 58 kills. Wiggins finished the afternoon with 23 kills, which was only three shy of her career-high set on Sept. 9, in addition to 14 digs.  

Rookie Sanem Bas also showed out, tallying a match-high of three service aces. Senior and two-time reigning MAAC Libero of the Year, Hope Matschner, was consistent as always, recording a game-high 29 digs.  

Sixth-seeded Iona soldiered on to the MAAC Championship Semifinal Round, where they faced off against No. 2 Quinnipiac University. 

Though Wiggins excelled on the stat sheet with a 15-kill, 13-dig double double, her efforts were not enough for the Gaels to overcome Quinnipiac’s offensive output. 

The Bobcats took the match 3-1 with scores of 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-21, eliminating the Gaels from the playoffs. 

Still, several players shone for Iona on the big stage, including Madasz, who added 12 kills, two blocks and hit a team-leading .323. Like Wiggins, DeGuzman also posted a double double, putting up 10 kills and 11 digs and sophomore setter Emma Vu recorded 28 assists.  

As a result of the playoff loss, Matschner ended her collegiate career with 2,079 digs, the second-most in program history. Graduate student Samantha Juran, meanwhile, brought her assist total to 2,002, eight-most ever for the Gaels. The pair were joined by Madasz, Soto, Tamara Pichardo, Elena Bianchi, Greta Stjade and Nerin Valasakos in bringing their Iona careers to a close.  

Ten Gaels were also named to the MAAC Volleyball All-Academic team, and three others earned accolades of their own.  

Matschner became the first Iona performer to earn consecutive MAAC Libero of the Year honors as the league’s top defender since Allison Nieters from 2008-09. Wiggins and Thompson’s strong seasons led to placements on the All-MAAC Second Team and All-Rookie Team, respectively.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

Comments (0)

All The Ionian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *