For a while, it seemed this might really be the place where dreams come true, but ultimately the clock struck midnight on the Saints. Siena came out firing in its quarterfinal match with top-seed Niagara, storming to a dominating 25-17 win in the first set, but the Purple Eagles kept their cool and bounced back to take the next three sets, eliminating the Saints from MAAC Championship contention.
Siena drops into the consolation bracket where it will face #7 seed Marist Friday at 11 a.m.
"It is disappointing for sure," head coach Garvey Pierre said. "We had our confidence high after the first set, but then we did not play our best."
Taylor Akana tied for a match-high with 17 kills, finishing as the only Saint to reach double figures. Niagara was led by Hannah Hedrick with 17 kills, Amanda Wilken added 11.
The match turned deep in the second set, when Niagara broke a 21-21 tie by scoring consecutive points. The Purple Eagles held on for a 25-23 victory in the set and carried the momentum through intermission.
Siena also led 14-12 in the third set before Niagara went on an 8-2 run to take control. In the final set, fatigue set in for the Saints as Niagara sprinted to a 12-2 lead and coasted into the semifinals from there.
Niagara got by with a stout defense, anchored by libero Sam Morgan's 29 digs.
The Saints had defeated No. 9 seed Saint Peter's earlier in the day to earn the right to square off with Niagara. They remain the only MAAC team to have knocked off the Purple Eagles this season, and gave them fits all three times they met.
Niagara advances to face #5 seed Fairfield, a 3-1 winner over #4 Manhattan earlier today.