Athletics News
The Road to Success is Never Easy but Always Rewarding

2003 Siena Women's Golf MAAC Championship Team
2003 Siena Women's Golf MAAC Championship Team

July 24, 2003

The road to success is never easy but always rewarding.

Just ask the athletes, coaches and administrators who have played a role in making the women's athletic programs at Siena arguably the most successful group of teams in school history and they will tell you exactly just how long and hard that road can be. But they wouldn't have it any other way, because for them the rewards of success are well worth the often-strenuous journey.

Those individuals who have participated in the journey must be credited with enabling the Siena women's athletic programs to experience the successes they have today. "The sacrifice and work rate of the athletic department and its coaches and athletes have gone a long way," stressed head women's soccer coach and 2002 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Coach of the Year Steve Karbowski. "Through hard work and determination we have begun to close the gap between our women's athletic programs and those of highly competitive schools." Siena's head coaches, like Steve, who are constantly striving to improve their programs, should know. Over the past several years it has been the coaches that have led the 10 Division I intercollegiate women's programs at Siena College further down the road to success than then ever before.

The road to success is never easy but always rewarding.

That road at Siena has been a long and sometimes bumpy one but success is now a common and often expected occurrence among the women's programs. "Women's athletics at Siena is on the move," said head women's lacrosse coach Sue Bette. "Every one of the women's teams continues to grow and improve with each academic year. We are moving in the right direction." That direction she speaks of is a crash course headed for even greater success and this past year was proof that the female athletes at Siena are on the verge of something special.

During the 2002-03 season the women's teams have demonstrated their commitment to success time and time again. Eight of the ten teams finished among the top-four in the MAAC regular season standings. Each of those eight teams qualified for their respective conference tournaments, with women's golf leading the pack and earning their third consecutive MAAC Championship. Of the remaining seven, two teams finished runner-up in the MAAC as swimming and diving narrowly missed the top-spot in their conference meet and women's tennis fell short in their championship match.

Perhaps the greatest success story at Siena has been the women's basketball team. They have led the women down the road to success and this year was no exception. The team claimed a share of the MAAC regular season title and advanced to the postseason for the third-straight year for the first time in school history. The Saints rewrote the record books numerous times this past year, including setting history with their third-straight 20-win season-a first since the program went to Division I. The Saints reached another milestone by receiving MAAC Player of the Year for the third-straight season, as junior Liene Jansone was honored. Siena has now been awarded the conference's top honor in five of the last six years, proving yet again that the women's basketball team has not only sprinted down the road to success, but that they have no plans on looking back.

In addition to those programs that saw repeated successes, like the women's basketball team, there were a number of teams that experienced new milestones on the road to success. Water Polo captured its first win in just the program's second year of existence, while women's lacrosse tallied three victories this season, earning more wins in 2003 than they have in the past four years combined. Softball also reset the record books as they fought their way to their initial MAAC Championship berth since the field was limited to four teams, while swimming and diving completed the 2002-03 regular season undefeated in the MAAC. Tennis finished their most successful year in its history winning 50% more games than it had in any previous year, while gaining national recognition for the first time as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranked them in the top 75 of all NCAA Division I programs.

Individual honors were also abundant for the women as the ten teams combined for a total of 22 conference postseason awards. Siena garnered one Player of the Year, one Goalkeeper of the Year and one Coach of the Year in the MAAC. The women also succeeded academically as 37 athletes were selected to their conference all-academic teams.

Special recognition was given to women's basketball standout Gunta Basko and top tennis player Nikki Mayer. Basko, who was recognized as an All-American in 2002, earned her second District 2 Kodak All-American selection this past season-a year in which she became only the second player in program history to score 1,000 points and record 1,000 rebounds. Mayer broke into the ITA top 100 individual ranking at #99 marking the first time a Siena tennis player, female or male, has ever been ranked nationally.

The road to success is never easy but always rewarding.

It is important to remember that success is a collaborative effort and the road to success is not possible without those responsible for laying down the foundation on which to travel. The willingness of the Siena community to work together and create as smooth a road as possible for its female athletes, as well as its acknowledgement of the importance of women's athletics in our society, has made success an obtainable reality for Siena's women's athletic programs. "I believe that the overall success of women's athletics, especially in the past year or so, is due to the realization by the college as well as its administrators that these young female athletes are going to be leaders of our society in the future," said head tennis coach Jeff Bloomberg. "The college administration has put their faith and their resources into our women's programs, making a concerted effort to bring the best and the brightest young women to Siena."

The best and the brightest have arrived and although the road to success has not been an easy one, the women of Siena Athletics have proved, perhaps this year more than ever, that the journey is always rewarding.

--Jen Valore

Athletics News Home

  Printer-friendly format   Email this article