The Siena volleyball team could not hold on to a 2-0 set lead in the MAAC Tournament title game, losing to the host Fairfield Stags 3-2 (25-20, 27-25, 21-25, 20-25, 11-15). It was the first time in nine chances that the Saints lost in the finals, and are now 6-1 against the Stags in those contests.
"We didn't win it but the girls played well," coach Garvey Pierre said. "It's tough to win here, Fairfield has a good team...we did what we had to do and play a good match."
Siena won the first set 25-20 behind the play of Taylor Akana. The junior finished with a match high 19 kills on 75 swings. With the score tied 6-6, a kill by Rachel Stoklosa ignited a 6-2 run and the Saints would not trail again in the set. Akana's kill to make score 23-20 started a 3-0 run and the Saints took the set with another kill by Stoklosa.
Siena started the second on a 3-0 run but Fairfield was able to close the gap and eventually tie the set at 5. A kill by Jacqueline Skeen would give the Saints a 5-0 run. The two team would tie the set seven more times and Siena fought back after facing a Fairfield set point to eventually taken the game on another kill by Stoklosa.
The third started off Siena's way as well, with Siena pulling to a 5-2 lead. Fairfield would fight back to tie the game at nine, but Lesli Akeo, who had a match high 34 digs, hit an ace to put Siena out in front. With the score tied at 16, MAAC tournament MVP, Brianna Dixion picked up a kill and Siena would not regain the lead again dropping the third 25-21.
The Stags jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the fourth, but the Saints fought back, tying the set six times, the latest happening when it was 16 a piece. A kill from Hayley Moyer put the Stags up for good, forcing a fifth set.
Once again, the Stags jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the fifth, only for the Saints to close the gap 13-10, after a Fairfield attack error. Fairfield called a timeout and would not look back taking the set and the match.
Akana led all player with 19 kills, Lesli Akeo was named to the all-MAAC Tournament team with her 34 digs. Skeen also received a pot on the team, with her 11 kills today. Setter Sarah Sivertson playing in her final match tallied 53 assists.
"We played our hearts out and that's all we could ask for," Sivertson said. "We fought every point in every game and worked our butts off."
The Saints end their season with 21 wins and a MAAC title appearance. After being pre-ranked fourth, the Saints gained the two seed and put on a successful season.
"This is a hard working team," coach Pierre said. "They've pushing all the way through with their morning practices...getting to the point where we are now there's a lot of work behind this...they were pushing all the way through."