By Steve Speedling
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist volleyball program’s first MAAC season came all the way back in 1997, a whopping 23 years ago. After an up-and-down beginning to the Red Foxes tenure in the conference, Marist made its first postseason run in 2009, defeating #1 Fairfield 3-2 in the semifinals, before falling to Niagara in the championship game.
Four years later, the Red Foxes began the most dominant three-year stretch in program history. From 2013-2015, the team won 67 total games, and went 42-12 in conference play. Marist appeared in the MAAC Championship match all three seasons, but came up just short.
Additionally, the Red Foxes have had a ton of success academically ever since joining the MAAC. Marist has been awarded the AVCA Team Academic Awards for 14 straight years, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak currently un Division I volleyball. This is the highest total by any MAAC school. Along with that incredible streak, the Red Foxes also have earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for nine straight years.
Following is a more in depth look at some of the accolades and achievements of the best players to have ever put on a Red Fox uniform.
MAAC 40th Anniversary
Megan Fergus: One of the best outside hitters in program history, Megan Fergus finished her career third on the program’s all-time kills list with 1,244. She is one of two players to be in the top-10 in kills and blocks in program history as well, as she is seventh on that list with 294 career total blocks. She holds the program record with 28 kills in a single match, which she tallied in her final game against Fairfield in the 2019 MAAC semifinals. She totaled 450 kills in 2019, which was the second highest kills total in a season in program history. She went from being the MAAC Rookie of the Year in 2016 to making the All-MAAC First Team her senior year. She was also named the South Bay Battle MVP in 2019. Fergus was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2019.
Joanna Foss: Foss was the first All-MAAC First Team selection in 2011, helping lead the Red Foxes to a 10-8 conference record. Foss is one of the best all-around players in program history, ranking in the top-10 in program history in both digs and kills. Foss racked up 1,400 kills in her career, which is good for second all-time, along with 1,011 digs, which is good for fifth all-time. She is the only player in Red Fox history who reached the 1,000 kill milestone along with the 1,000 dig milestone. Foss was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District in both 2009 and 2011.
Alexandra Schultze: Schultze is the epitome of offense. Probably the best offensive talent to take the court for Marist, Schultze is atop the program record book in all-time kills, totaling 1,588 throughout her four-year career. Her 488 kills in 2007 also ranks atop the program record book as the highest number of kills in a single season. Schultze was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2009
Mackenzie Stephens: The MAAC Player of the Year in 2013, Stephens sparked a run to the MAAC Championship game that season, and eventually led them back to the championship in 2014 as well. Stephens is one of the best two-way players in program history, ranking in the top-10 on both the program’s all-time blocks list and all-time kills list. She ranks 10th on the kills list with 961, and second on the all-time blocks list with 384. Stephens also collected 134 total blocks in 2014, which is the second highest total in a single season in Red Fox history. Stephens was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2014.
Brooke Zywick: Zywick is the best libero to ever play for the Red Foxes. The 2013 MAAC Libero of the Year, Zywick amassed 540 digs that season which is the second-most digs in a season in program history. She ranks number one in career digs at Marist, accumulating 1,806 in her career. Zywick also has two of the top-five single-match dig totals, totaling 36 and 38 during two matches in 2012. Zywick was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2013.
Head Coach Tom Hanna: Tom Hanna served as head coach of Marist volleyball for nine seasons (2006-14). Hanna took over a program which had never finished in the top half of the conference prior to his arrival, and led it to a 139-134 overall mark and 89-73 record in conference play in his tenure. Marist won its first MAAC regular-season titles in 2013 and 2014, and earned berths in the MAAC final in 2009, 2013, and 2014. In 2014, the Red Foxes set program records for overall wins and conference wins by going 25-6 overall and 15-3 in MAAC play. Hanna was named MAAC Coach of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.