Oct. 29, 2005
Janine Pesusich and April London combined for the game deciding block assist as Siena completed an upset win over Niagara in dramatic fashion in a televised MAAC volleyball match on the Siena campus in Loudonville Saturday. Junior Christie Gustafson and sophomore Nadiege Honore combined for 41 kills for Siena.
The two teams played a very even match, with Siena (13-11/2-2 MAAC) taking a back-and-forth first game 30-28. Neither team ever led by more than two points throughout the entire first game. Siena posted a .250 attack percentage compared to .229 for Niagara in the opener. The Saints stretched their advantage to 2-0, winning the second game 30-26.
After a 10-minute intermission, Niagara (12-8/2-3 MAAC) responded with a 30-21 win in the third game. The Saints spotted the Purple Eagles an early lead with four service errors on their first six rotations. The fourth game was a thriller. Siena held off a Niagara game point to force overtime, and after each team traded side-outs, London and Pesusich combined for the crucial block.
Niagara was led by Stephanie Hopkins and Michelle LeSouder who combined for 39 of the team's 754 kills in the match. Middle hitter Karen Simpson killed five of her first seven attempts and ended the match with 12 kills and a.458 attack percentage.
Niagara, the coaches' choice to finish third in the MAAC (Siena was picked ninth), dropped to 2-3 in the MAAC, while Siena improved to 2-2. Both teams lost to preseason favorites Fairfield and Iona earlier this season, meaning this match could prove critical as the teams vie for one of the four MAAC Tournament spots.
London was again strong in the win, posting 53 assists from her setter post. Senior Christa Glenn
also played a solid match, killing eight of her 21 attempts and keeping Niagara off balance with her stealth serving. Freshman Libero Kathi Kobayashi
had 13 digs.
Niagara played strong defense throughout the match, but struggled with its ball handling. The Purple Eagles out-dug Siena 69-58 and had four players post double-figure digs.
Siena hosts Canisius at 2 p.m. Sunday in another key MAAC match.