Oct. 19, 2011
Link to Original Story, First Published in the Troy Record 10/19/11
By: Andrew Santillo
LOUDONVILLE -- Lily Grenci is ready to step up for Siena this season.
The leadership role is one she'd like to fill and one the Saints are certainly in need of.
A 6-foot-1 forward, Grenci, is healthy for the first time in her career and is coming off a terrific four games during the program's trip overseas.
"She knows she's going to be counted on more," said Siena coach Gina Castelli, at the team's media day on Tuesday. "She wants that role."
The only junior on the roster, Grenci is one of three captains, along with seniors Cristina Centeno and Maja Gerlyng.
Grenci admits that she wants to be looked at as a leader for the team and the program.
"I've wanted to be that girl and I want to step into that role," she said.
It's another role that Siena also needs her to play this season -- post player.
The Saints saw their leading scorer and rebounder, Serena Moore, graduate and Grenci has the most experience of any post player on the roster.
"Serena can't be replaced," Gerlyng said. "It's more about regrouping and finding other players to step up."
Grenci, who is from Mars, Pa., just north of Pittsburgh, spent last season soaking up information from Moore, who was a candidate for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
"I learned a lot from her," Grenci said.
Grenci averaged 17.5 points and eight rebounds per game, during the team's four-game trip to Denmark and Italy, in August.
"I felt great," Grenci said. "I was completely healthy."
Feeling good is something new for Grenci, who broke her foot during her freshman season and last year dealt with a high ankle sprain and an Achilles injury.
Grenci is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at Mars Area High School and earned all-state honors, as a senior.
She doesn't mind playing down low to the basket, but she also feels confident in her shooting.
Grenci thinks that the team will be more difficult to defend this season because they can be more balanced.
"I think we have a great balance between scoring inside and people that can shoot," she said.
The Saints will be looking for a lot from Grenci and sophomore Clara Sole Anglada (6-foot-1) to fill the void left by Moore, who averaged 14.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
"They took the time this summer to work really hard on their game," Centeno said. "They focused on working inside the paint, getting a lot stronger in the weight room and that's really shown during these practices."
The trip overseas was a good kickstart to the season.
"The summer was a great opportunity for us," Centeno said. "Being able to go to Italy and Denmark and we also got 10 practices under our belt. That really helped us and motivated us."
The Saints stumbled out of the gates in 2010-11, but finished off strong, winning six of their last nine games to finish fourth in the conference.
"That's one of the things we've been focusing on, getting a good start to the season," Gerlyng said.
Siena finished its season, in the MAAC semifinals, losing to six-time champion, Marist.
The Saints have five new players on their roster, including Colonie High graduate Tehresa Coles.
"I'm just so excited to have her," Castelli said.