Siena volleyball hosts Hofstra tonight in their 2011 home opener. The Saints, who opened the season last week at Syracuse's Big Orange Tournament, have their sights firmly set on a MAAC Championship, one that would be the program's fifth under ninth-year head coach Garvey Pierre.
"I think the team is doing really well," said sophomore Taylor Akana, a Preseason All-MAAC selection. "We're practicing hard every single day, and making sure we have each other's backs on and off the court."
"We started pretty well as a group," said junior Sarah Sivertson. "I think the juniors are stepping it up, and the freshmen are coming along pretty nicely. It's all about the chemistry."
Most teams have a senior leader or leaders, a player or group that uses three years of past experiences as building blocks for the season ahead. This year's Siena Saints are an interesting squad in that there are zero seniors to be found. Instead, Siena will focus on a core that comprises seven juniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen.
Due in part to their youth and a 10-21 campaign in 2010, the Saints were voted sixth in the MAAC preseason poll. This has served as considerable motivation for the Siena program, one that captured four straight conference titles from 2005 to 2008.
"The MAAC coaches should know better than that," Pierre cautioned. "I believe we're definitely not going to finish sixth and that our goal is to finish first."
"I think that we're going to prove ourselves on the court," Akana said. "We're going to take one match at a time, and I think our team will show its character when we step on the court."
The young group got their first tests in central New York, going 1-2 in three games at Syracuse. The Saints opened 2011 with a 3-2 win over Youngstown State, but dropped consecutive 3-0 decisions to Sacred Heart and the host Orange on the second day of competition. The season-opening win was the first for the Saints since 2007, and just the second in Pierre's nine-year tenure.
Tonight's game opens a 10-game home slate for the Saints, and you can catch all the action online at Siena All-Access. Live video of all 10 games will be streamed, and both individual and full-season packages are available. Games can be purchased for $7.95, while season passes are available for $49.95 (a $30 savings off the per-game price).
Six full broadcasts will feature exclusive play-by-play, and all games can be viewed from anywhere in the world, right from the palm of your hand. All streams are accessible on iOS devices (such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch), in addition to any devices that support Adobe Flash 10.1 or greater (primarily Android devices). Please check with your device manufacturer or cellular service provider for more information.