Aug 27, 2013
The Siena volleyball team was picked a distant second in the MAAC Preseason Poll released Tuesday. The Saints were 14 points behind defending champion Fairfield which received all but one first place vote from the league's 10 coaches. Senior Taylor Akana and junior Jacqueline Skeen were named to the Preseason All-MAAC team.
"The team is playing with a great deal of confidence in preseason," head coach Garvey Pierre said. "Our goal is not to finish second again."
The top four finishers in the regular season will qualify for the 2013 MAAC Volleyball Championships which Siena will host at Alumni Recreation Center November 23 and 24.
Akana was the Preseason Player of the Year last season, an honor that went to Fairfield's Rachel Romansky - the two-time MAAC Setter of the Year - in this year's poll.
Akana enters her senior season fourth among all active Division I volleyball players in kills (1,361). She was an ECAC All-Star last season and was named MAAC Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2011. Akana is fifth on Siena's all-time kills chart and eighth in digs (1,046). She was the fastest player in MAAC history to reach both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs (65 matches).
Skeen is one of the rising stars in the MAAC. She's amassed 478 kills and 201 blocks in her first two years with the program as middle hitter.
Siena's front row attack figures to be the strongest in the MAAC. In addition to Akana and Skeen, junior captain Rachel Stoklosa (344 kills as a sophomore) returns on the outside, and MAAC All-Rookie team pick Meghann Wright (1.42 kills/1.95 digs/set) is back on the right side.
The Saints lost seven student athletes to graduation, headlined by two-time Libero of the Year Lesli Akeo, senior setter Sarah Sivertson and MAAC Second Team selection Colleen Ahearn. Siena opens its season in the Hofstra Invitational Sunday.