Siena volleyball came into the 2011 MAAC Tournament on fire, but will leave wondering what might have been following Saturday's 3-2 loss to arch-rival Fairfield at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J. The Saints won the first set, and put forth a dramatic comeback to capture the third in thrilling fashion, but could not close out the Stags and extend the 2011 season.
Siena (13-15) hit .314 in winning the first set 25-18, but hit no higher than .185 in each of the four final sets. After the initial win, Siena fell 25-20 in the second set, and dug themselves into an 18-10 hole in the third.
However, the Saints then caught fire. In danger of falling behind two sets to one, Siena proceeded to win 16 of the final 22 points, taking the often-pivotal third set 26-24 in the process.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair, and ultimately, the Stags prevailed 25-22, setting up a race to 15 between two teams accustomed to doing so against each other in MAAC Tournament settings. Unfortunately for the Saints, they could not capitalize after taking three of the first four points. Fairfield went on a 14-7 run, ending the match and Siena's season with a 15-10 win in the fifth and final set.
Junior Colleen Ahearn had a match-high 17 kills and a team-best three blocks, with MAAC Offensive Player of the Year Taylor Akana and All-Rookie Team selection Jacqueline Skeen tallying 10 kills apiece. MAAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Lesli Akeo led both teams with 21 digs, with Akana adding 16 in a double-double that capped off a fantastic sophomore season.
Fairfield, meanwhile, moves to 20-9 on the season, and advances to face two-time defending conference champion Niagara in Sunday's MAAC Championship game.