By Kim Leder
The volleyball team prepares for a back-to-back faceoff with two conference teams this weekend when it takes on Siena (6-12) on Saturday and Marist (9-11) on Sunday.
The Broncs (4-18), who have lost seven straight games, fell to defending MAAC champions, Niagara in straight sets 25-15, 25-21, 25-16 Sunday. Freshman Jaclyn Webber had 10 kills, and five digs while Ashlee Amatulli added 14 assists and five digs.
“[We played] Canisus who was seeded second in preseason polls,” captain Brittany Gajewski said. “We took a game away from Canisus and almost took one away from Niagara. We saw glimpses of teamwork, while the scores may not show it. We were mentally involved in every game and continued to push through. I think that is hard to do when you have a season like we have had.”
“We were up by six points at one time in the second set but we were not able to finish,” said sophomore Bridget Sheerin. “Our team is constantly improving and doing a good job getting better each time we play. I think that with time and experience our team is going to be someone to look out for. We also have a large number of freshmen starting and gaining experience, which will only help us in the long run.”
On Saturday, players to look out for on Siena’s side are Taylor Akana, Leslie Akeo and Rachel Stoklosa. Siena’s offensive star, Colleen Ahearn, killed 14 of her 29 attacks during her last match. In addition, their setter Sarah Sivertson, racked up 40 assists and 10 digs.
“This week our expectations are to compete at the highest level possible,” Sheerin said. “We have already played both [schools], so we are hoping to learn from the past and exploit their weaknesses.”
Gajewski expects to walk out of this weekend’s games with two wins.
“We expect to work hard and win both games this weekend,” she said. “These are two teams we have played before and competed with, but could not finish. This weekend, we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves from our games against them at the beginning of the season. We are starting to work together, but we have to continue to mesh this weekend. Once we can master the concept of teamwork, we will be unstoppable. The talent is there, we just need to learn how to work together.”
Against Marist, the same rules apply. The Broncs want to take their knowledge of their last match versus the Red Fox’s and use it to their advantage. The Broncs need to be aware of Hanna Stoiberg, who had 14 kills, 29 assists, and 7 blocks in her last game. Joanna Foss and Grace Kill combined for a total of 30 kills and 35 digs. Kayla Burton and Marisa Gilbert combined for a total of 11 blocks. Brooke Zywick added 15 assists while her teammate Audra Brady had 23.
To get a win from Siena and Marist, our team is going to have to play together the entire match,” said Sheerin. “It is important that we come together after every play and work hard throughout the entire match. We want to focus on one point at a time during both matches.”