Aug. 28, 2012
The Saints return every player from last year's team that won nine of its final 10 MAAC matches and reached the league semifinals before falling in five sets to rival Fairfield. Head coach Garvey Pierre feels the Saints are poised to make a run at their ninth MAAC title.
"Everyone is very excited about this season," Pierre said. "We have the Offensive Player of the Year and the (co) Defensive Player of the Year coming back, and we have more depth than we have had in years."
The reigning Offensive Player of the Year, and MAAC Preseason Player of the Year is sensational junior Taylor Akana. Akana will eclipse 1,000 kills early in her penultimate season, and leads an attack that figures to be among the strongest in the league.
Senior libero Lesli Akeo is a player Pierre calls: "one of the best to ever play volleyball at Siena." She has already broken the program's all-time digs mark, and adds a steady influence to the back row."
The two Hawaiians have plenty of help.
Senior Sarah Sivertson will get the opening day start at setter. Sivertson is a versatile talent with great leadership and decision making skills. Classmate Colleen Ahearn teams with sophomore Jacqueline Skeen to give the Saints a formidable middle, and capable seniors Amanda Sawlsville and Elizabeth Ives figure to compete for playing time on the right side.
Sophomore Rachel Stoklosa could be a difference maker on the outside. She'll be asked to step up when Akana rotates back, but there are other capable hitters, including red-shirt freshman Meghann Wright and senior Kelly Hurlburt.
Pierre has also brought in four freshmen to compete for playing time and provide depth.
"We are pretty strong all-around, and we should be much further ahead at the start of the year than we have been recently" Pierre said. "We all have one goal in mind."