Nov. 13, 2010
To nobody's surprise the Siena volleyball team is playing its best volleyball of the season in mid-November. If they can keep it going for another week things will get very interesting at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex, the site of the MAAC Championship. The Saints swept contender Iona (28-26, 25-22 and 25-20) at home today, marking their second straight impressive victory. They host Marist on Senior Day at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
"I have been telling the team that we can do this," Head Coach Gravey Pierre said. "We have been very close. Today was a great step forward."
Taylor Akana was the only player for either team to reach double figures in kills, and the freshman did so in the first set. Akana collected 10 of her 19 kills in the opener, helping the Saints rally late for a 28-26 win.
The Saints won a back-and-forth second set before coasting home in the third. It seems their confidence is growing with each passing point.
Last weekend, Siena showed signs of breaking through, first losing in five sets at regular-season champ Niagara, and then winning the next day in five against a tough Canisius team.
The Saints did everything well Saturday. Their serving was aggressive and outstanding. Their defense was superb behind sophomore libero Lesli Akeo who out-shone Iona's Allison Neiters - the most respected defensive player in the league. Setter Sarah Sivertson found her grove, Brianne Bobo looked strong on the outside, and Akana was simply a star.
Brennan Johnson returned to the rotation for the first time this season, softening the blow suffered earlier in the week when the Saints learned they would be playing without Preseason All-MAAC selection Aubrey Bobo the rest of the way.
The revamped Siena lineup is also much stronger at the net. For the second straight match, the Saints out-blocked their opponent.
Everything seems to be coming together at the perfect time.