Iona edges past Quinnipiac for first conference win of the season

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

The Iona College volleyball team (3-9, 1-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) picked up its first win since Sept. 1 when the team beat Quinnipiac 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 15-8) on Sunday afternoon.

The win marked the end of the Gaels’ six game losing streak and their first win in the MAAC.

“Keeping their level of composure and making sure they stay discipline,” head coach Patric Santiago said. “We focused on our process and stay discipline to our composure is really what took us over the edge during tough moments.”

Iona’s understood that it was going against some stiff competition over the weekend, but the Gaels set a goal that they would get at least one win on home turf. For Santiago, that was more relieving than ending the losing streak.

“It’s very relieving to end the losing streak, but it’s nice to get a conference win on our floor,” Santiago said. “1-1 was our goal this weekend.”

Iona didn’t start the match on a high note as the team dropped the first set. However, the Gaels rebounded and won the next two sets with the help of junior Claire Archibald, who finished with 26 kills, 20 digs and a .327 hitting percentage.

Iona entered the fourth set with a chance to close out the match, but Quinnipiac wasn’t going to let that happen. The Bobcats jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the set. The Gaels found its momentum late in the set as cut the deficit to 24-23. A service error on junior Emma Rose ended Iona’s rally and sent the match into the fifth set.

“I think we timed out at 8-2,” Santiago said. “They [Quinnipiac] only scored one ball and we made seven errors. We were not taking care of our side and they were doing a good job making our errors.”

The Gaels made an all-around game in the final set to come away with the victory. Archibald was the one that sealed the deal as she delivered the match point.

“We stayed together and played with a lot of heart,” Santiago said. “Just a good team effort.”

Freshman Jamie Smith was impressive throughout as she racked up 12 kills, 16 assists, six digs and 15.5 points. Smith, and freshman Taylor Cole have impressed Santiago in their first year on the team.

“A tremendous amount of leadership and drive,” Santiago said on the team’s freshmen. “They just don’t want to be here. They want to turn the program around and make steps forward.”

Rose tallied a team-high 35 assists, while sophomore Tess Connolly chipped in 12 kills.

Iona’s next game will be on the road against St. Peter’s on Wednesday.

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