In a reoccurring trend for Fairfield athletics this fall, the top-seeded women’s volleyball team was upset in the MAAC finals by second-seeded Siena. Despite winning the regular season conference title, they will not earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.

“For the second year in a row we just haven’t responded when we needed to. It’s a phenomenon in sports: you know you’re the better team, but you fail to show up,” said Head Coach Jeff Werneke.

Werneke cited unforced errors as the main reason the Stags came up empty-handed in the postseason and related the team’s performance to a basketball team that turns over the ball every time they progress offensively, or a football team that commits a 15-yard penalty every other play.

“It’s unexplainable. I think we played our worst match of the year…despite that we still had an opportunity to win,” Werneke said about his team’s 2-3 loss to Siena.

The Stags had 44 hitting errors, 16 service errors and 14 reception errors in the loss.

Lindsey Lee ’08 led the Stags with 13 kills, while Alex Fox ’06 had 12 kills and nine blocks. Kelly Oliver ’08 and Jazmin Pa’akaula ’08 combined for 11 more kills.

Siena, which was picked to finish ninth out of 10 in MAAC pre-season coaches’ poll, capped an improbable postseason run with the championship upset and improved to 20-11 overall and 7-2 in the conference.

Fairfield finished the season with a record of 8-1 overall in the MAAC.

The 3-2 loss halted Fairfield’s seven-game winning streak, while Siena extended its unbeaten streak to nine.

Siena will face third-ranked Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament for its second NCAA appearance.

Casey Machon ’06 recorded eight kills in the match and settles in at fifth place on Fairfield’s all-time kills list. Machon and Fox were honored on the MAAC All-Tournament Team.

With the season already effectively over, the Stags played out the final two games at the Battle for the Bird Invitational in Milkwauke.

The Stags lost a pair of matches there to Valparaiso and Western Michigan, giving them an overall record of 18-15 for the season.

Though the team returns most of its headlining players, including co-captains Lee and Pa’Akaula, Werneke said the team has some questions to answer if it wants to take care of un-finished business next fall.

“A lot will be determined this spring. We need to see how kids develop, how hard they work,” Werneke said.

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