For the first time in 12 years Siena owns bragging rights over UAlbany in volleyball. The Saints and Great Danes have each enjoyed great success on the hardwood over the past decade, but this rivalry had been decidedly one-sided. Until tonight. Taylor Akana led four Saints in double figures with 20 kills as Siena stormed past UAlbany in four sets (20-25, 25-19. 25-17 and 25-16) in a match televised across the state on Time Warner Cable Sports.
The win was head coach Garvey Pierre's first over UAlbany (4-11) in 10 tries. The man who has brought Siena to more NCAA Tournaments than anyone else can now cross that item off his bucket list.
Siena (9-8) lost the first set 25-20, but the Saints raised their play to a whole other level after that, claiming convincing 25-19, 25-17 and 25-16 sets to take the match.
Akana returned to peak form, registering 14 kills in the first to sets. That opened up the middle for setter Sarah Sivertsoon, and Colleen Ahearn and Jacqueline Skeen responded with 22 kills. Rachel Stoklosa continued her strong play with 10 kills and 14 digs on the outside.
Libero Lesli Akeo led Siena with 28 digs, and the Saints controlled big advantages in all major statistical categories. Siena had 65 kills compared to just 45 for the Danes, led 87-82 in digs and 10-4 in blocks.
Viktoriia Stroilo kept UAlbany close with a match-high 31 digs. She also served extremely well, especially in the first set when she engineered a set-deciding 6-0 run.
Everyone who saw action for Siena contributed in a big way. Freshman Meghann Wright killed seven of her 15 attacks and played stellar defense, tallying 12 digs - several that kept key rallies alive.
The Saints try to keep things going Saturday when they host Marist at 2 p.m. in a MAAC match.