Oct. 25, 2009Women's volleyball left Siena stunned Sunday afternoon at Reitz Arena by pulling off a huge 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 26-24, 25-19) upset victory -- the first Loyola win over the Saints in seven years.
"There are moments in a season where you come together and define yourself as a team," said head coach Scott Pennewill. "This was that significant moment we were looking for."
The last win over Siena came on October 19, 2002, via a 3-0 sweep in Loudonville, N.Y. The Saints (9-12, 7-5 MAAC) defeated Loyola (11-16, 6-6 MAAC) earlier this season, sweeping them at home.
Recent struggles in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play coupled with their history against the team made Loyola every bit the underdog coming into the contest. The Greyhounds were out-hit and out-killed by a powerful Siena team, but had one of their best defensive games all season.
"All week in practice we talked about the five pillars of success: discipline, effort, cooperation and preparing yourself for the opportunity when it arises," Pennewill said. "We didn't do many game plans. We talked about what's it going to take and the effort needed to get that significant win."
There was only one real game plan Sunday, and that was to stop Burgandy McCurty, the nation's top hitter. McCurty did scorch the Greyhounds for 32 kills, but saw little help around her when the Saints were in trouble in the final two sets.
Karlee Woodward and Nina Camaioni provided the offense for the Greyhounds. Woodward had 16 kills on .423 hitting and put up a total of six blocks, two solo. Camaioni had 18 kills and also chipped in eight digs and a block.
Brittany Born had a match-high 16 digs and made not one error in 42 passes. Camaioni was also perfect through 17 receptions.
"Our success is based on the ability to win the serve/serve receive game," Pennewill said. "And we served effectively and passed the ball brilliantly."
The Greyhounds started off with a 25-22 win in set one, but fell behind in the second set with McCurty and Aubrey Bobo combining for 12 kills.
Woodward then went on a tear in the third set to pull Loyola out from behind the Saints.
Down 14-10 after a timeout, Aubrey Kirven snuck a kill over the net that sparked a game-changing rally. After allowing a McCurty Kill, Katie Dicks then put down one of her own and Woodward hit two straight to put the score at 14-15.
The two teams battled back and forth until Camaioni took 21-19 lead for Loyola with a pair of kills. Although Siena came back to tie three more times at the end of the set, the Greyhounds never allowed them to take a lead and won 26-24.
Aubrey Kirven nailed an ace to start off the fourth set. The serve was a sign of things to come for Siena, as the Saints struggled to get past the Greyhounds. In the middle of the set, it looked as though Siena was climbing back up but a solo block by Annie Manes stopped the Saints dead in their tracks.
Woodward and Kirven made two key blocks as well, effectively neutralizing Bobo. With the momentum now firmly on Loyola's side, the Greyhounds cruised to the finish line with the 25-19 win.