NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2019 season was one of significant ups and downs for the Albertus Magnus College women's volleyball team, as a young Falcons squad posted a 9-21 overall record and a 2-10 mark in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).
The Falcons, whose lineup featured six underclassmen and just three upperclassmen, began the year with three straight setbacks to Elms College, SUNY Cobleskill, and Oswego State at the Blazer Invitational, hosted by Elms College.
The start to their home schedule was just what the Falcons needed, as they went on a four-match win streak to kick off the home slate. Albertus knocked off the City College of New York, Lehman College, and Dean College in straight sets, while besting Nichols College in four over the streak. Four consecutive wins matched the Falcons' longest streak since the 2017 campaign.
.@AMCAthletics women's volleyball earned a straight-set victory over Dean tonight to extend its win streak to four matches!!! The Falcons were led on offense by rookies Diana Kalman and Irene Ronan with 10 and 6 kills, respectively. #fearlessfalcons #thisisFalconawesome #FalconA pic.twitter.com/dGaRM3aRQ2— Albertus Falcons (@AMCAthletics) September 11, 2019
Albertus hit a rough patch in its schedule with the start of GNAC play, as the Falcons went 2-5 to close out the month of September. Albertus topped both Becker College and Purchase State over the seven-match stretch, which also included hard-fought five-set defeats at the hands of both Suffolk University and Curry College.
The Falcons picked up three more wins in October and November to close out the 2019 campaign. The first of which was a straight-set triumph over Lehman on October 5.
The Falcons' highlight of the season came on October 19, when Albertus defeated the Saint Joseph's College of Maine in four sets during Homecoming Weekend. With the Falcons ahead two sets to one, the two GNAC foes battled to a marathon 37-35 fourth set. Sophomore Jaiden Williams (Orange, Conn.) had a career outing, posting career-highs with 51 assists and 29 digs in the win, while fellow sophomore Maria Vazquez (Hamden, Conn.) set a career-best with 19 kills.
VB: @AMCAthletics women's volleyball capped off its Homecoming tri-match with a thrilling 3-1 victory over Saint Joseph's (Me.) for its first @TheGNAC win of 2019!!! The Falcons won an epic fourth set by a 37-35 final score! #thisisFalconawesome #FalconA #fearlessfalcons pic.twitter.com/NOUYQuOgBj— Albertus Falcons (@AMCAthletics) October 19, 2019
Albertus picked up a 3-0 victory over Anna Maria College for its final win of the year. The Falcons have defeated the AMCATS in each of the last three seasons, all coming in straight sets.
The Falcons employed a balanced attack on offense, with three players finishing the year with at least 1.5 kills per set. Freshman Diana Kalman (Naugatuck, Conn.) led the team 220 total kills (2.14 kills/set), as she was one of just three players to appear in all 30 matches in 2019. Senior Ashley David (West Islip, N.Y.) and Vazquez were almost identical with 1.54 and 1.53 kills per set, respectively.
Williams was at the center of the Falcons' offense as the team's starting setter in all 30 matches. The Orange, Conn., native earned assists on 586 (5.69 assists/set) of Albertus' 789 total kills. She also tallied new career-highs with 298 digs, 53 kills, 50 service aces, and 20 total blocks.
On the defensive end of the court, senior libero Jesselle Guzman (El Paso, Texas) paced the Falcons with a career-best 494 digs (5.09 digs/set) in 28 appearances.
Guzman and David celebrated Senior Day on October 29 against Bard College. The duo wrapped up productive careers, as each played four seasons as crucial members of the program. Guzman led the team in digs in three of her four seasons, finishing her career with 1,606 digs in 114 career matches. David was top four on the team in kills in all four of her collegiate seasons, with 558 kills in 98 matches. She also tallied 587 digs and 77 assists during her tenure.