MAAC Play Opens With Loyola Taking On Siena And Marist

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Sept. 18, 2009

This week: Conference Opener

Siena Saints (2-5 overall, 0-0 MAAC)

Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds (5-8 overall, 0-0 MAAC)

When: Saturday, September 19

Where: Alumni Recreation Center (Loudonville, N.Y)

Time: 2 p.m.

Marist Red Foxes (6-5 overall, 0-0 MAAC)

Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds (5-8 overall, 0-0 MAAC)

When: Sunday, September 20

Where: McCann Field House (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)

Time: 2 p.m.

Starting off

Conference Call

Loyola will be back on the road this weekend to begin Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play with matches at Siena and Marist. The Greyhounds enter conference play in third place after their most recent win over Coppin State. Defending conference champ Siena is currently in seventh and Marist is in second after three weeks of non-conference play.

Picking up the Pace

Junior outside hitter Nina Camaioni's 18 kills helped lead the Greyhounds past Coppin State (0-12) Tuesday night, at Loyola's Reitz Arena. After hitting just .097 in the first set, the Greyhounds went on to hit .242 and .438 in sets two and three. It was equal opportunity scoring in the third set when Janet Pressler, Taylor Koncelik and Katie Dircks all kicked the scoring up a notch, chipping in with several kills of their own. Dircks contributed seven in the third set, and finished the night with 11 kills on .400 hitting. Loyola out-hit the Eagles 40-25 and held Coppin to just a .102 hitting clip.

Scouting the Saints

Burgandy McCurty and Camaioni will go to battle against one another as two of the nation's top hitters. McCurty leads the MAAC with a 4.52 kill-per-set average and is tenth in Division I, while Loyola's Camaioni holds the top spot in the MAAC in the total kills category with 167. However, the rest of the team has had to step up this season, as the Saints lost some of their top talent this season. Siena is heavy on blocking currently leading the MAAC with 1.96 blocks per game, but McCurty makes up the majority of the offense. Aubrey Bobo's 87 kills are the second-most on the team after McCurty's 122. Her twin sister Brianne has taken over as one of the primary passers in the back row but has just 63 digs to her credit in all 27 sets. The Saints' most recent win came in the form of a five-set victory over Colgate last weekend at the Long Island University Invitational.

Scouting the Red Foxes

Marist ranks near the top of the conference in several categories. The Red Fox's numbers in hitting percentage (.203), assists per set (11.38) and kills (482 total, 12.05 per set) are all second in the MAAC, while their 89 service aces is the conference's high mark. Alexandra Shultze leads the team with 120 kills. Marist is currently 3-0 on their home court and has yet to drop a set at the McCann Field House after sweeping Bucknell, Providence and Bryant in their own Volley in the Valley tournament (Sept. 5-6).

Leading the Way

The NCAA released the first statistics report for the 2009 season Sunday, Sept. 13. The report had Camaioni's 4.07 kills per set average ranked at No. 38 in the country. Since then, Camaioni has raised her average to 4.20 after adding 18 kills against Coppin State in Tuesday's night's 3-0 win over Coppin State. Her season total of 185 is currently tops in the MAAC. Camaioni tallied a whopping 70 kills in 14 games the second weekend of the season in the Battle of Baltimore, including a career-high 23 against Towson. The performance led to her first MAAC Offensive Player of the Week award. Camaioni was named to the Battle of Baltimore's all-tournament team and was the lone Greyhound to be named to the Duke Invitational all-tournament team.

Carolina on my Mind

Last weekend the Greyhounds faced their toughest test of the season as they took on No. 1-ranked Penn State at the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C. After a Friday night match against the two-time defending national champions, Loyola faced the Blue Devils and College of Charleston at the storied Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Studly Setter

Freshman setter Aubrey Kirven, whom head coach Scott Pennewill has referred to as a "stud", is second in the MAAC with 8.91 assists per game. The multitalented setter also leads the team with 14 service aces, is second on the team with six blocks, and has also chipped in 95 digs and 21 kills. With 146 assists in the Battle of Baltimore, Kirven was named to her first collegiate all-tournament team as well as named MAAC Rookie of the Week. Kirven has been on a roll since making her Greyhound debut in Pittsburgh, at the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational where she had 117 assists, including 46 against Radford.

Born to Dig

Junior libero Brittany Born comes into the 2009 season with 1,109 career digs. With 171 already in `09, Born is on pace to surpass Megan Maguire's career mark of 1,381 this season. Born's single-season digs record of 626 as a freshman in 2007, is currently first all-time. Junior outside hitter Nina Camaioni holds the single match record of 36.

The Returning Half

Loyola returned six letterwinners this season, three of them being full-time starters. All together, the Greyhounds return 553 sets played, 664 kills, 847 assists, 1,446 digs and 191 blocks.