April 19, 2013
Siena will begin play in the new MAAC field hockey league this fall. The Saints will initially compete alongside member institutions Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Rider, with Fairfield set to join in 2015.
"We're excited to be joining with something that the rest of Siena athletics is a part of," Siena field hockey head coach Kara Zappone said. "The team is really excited to be a part of the MAAC, and to be able to share that with their fellow student athletes. In the long run, the move is going to be a big plus, and I think the conference will skyrocket in the region. We will get better recruits, and be able to elevate our program to a whole new level."
In its press release announcing the new league this morning, the MAAC said it will look to invite schools that sponsor field hockey within the region to join as associate members for the 2013 season. It also indicated that the membership plan is to provide eight teams for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and nine teams when Fairfield commences league play in the 2015-16 academic year.
"The MAAC is excited about sponsoring field hockey as an associate league sport as membership expansion provides added branding opportunities for the conference," notes Richard J. Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. "As the MAAC athletic administrators reviewed the needs of the member institutions, it became apparent that having a core of five schools sponsoring the sport made the addition of field hockey to the MAAC Strategic Plan an obvious next step for the conference to meet the expectations of the student athletes for a consistent championship experience."
Siena, Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Rider previously competed in the eight-team Northeast Conference along with Bryant, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (Pa.).
Siena sponsors 18 Division I varsity sports, and all 18 now compete in the MAAC.