Jersey City, N.J. - Second seeded Fairfield defeated third seeded Siena 3-2 (18-25, 25-20; 24-26; 25-22; 15-10) to advance to the 2011 MAAC Volleyball Championship match. The Stags will meet Niagara in the championship match tomorrow.Fairfield will face No. 1 Niagara University in the MAAC Championship final at 1pm in the Yanitelli Center on the campus of Saint Peter's College.
Senior Haililani Pokipala and sophomore Rachel Romansky each recorded double-doubles while junior Brianna Dixion and freshman Caitlin Stapleton each tallied double-digit kills.
Romansky, the 2011 MAAC Setter of the Year, finished with 51 assists and 13 digs while Pokipala had 15 kills and 10 digs. Dixion tallied 15 kills and three total blocks. Stapleton, the 2011 MAAC Rookie of the Year, posted 13 and four total blocks.
Sophomore Hayley Moyer had eight kills and five total blocks while senior Kendal Dirkin finished with nine kills and six total blocks.
Libero Kara Reis had 18 digs while senior Lauren Balmert had eight digs.
Fairfield (20-9) trailed early in the first set but came back to an 11-10 lead on a block by Stapleton and Moyer. With the score tied 13-13 in the first set, the Saints (13-15) used a 10-4 run to pull away from the Stags. Siena went on to the 25-18 win.
The Stags came out strong in the second stanza surging out to an 8-4 lead after a block by Dirkin and Romansky. Dirkin made it a six-point game, 13-7, with a service ace. Fairfield extended the lead to 20-12 on a kill by Romansky. Siena cut the gap to four points, 24-20, late in the frame but Dixion came through with a kill to put the set away.
After a close start to the third set, the Stags began to dominate, going on a 10-3 run. The surge was capped off by a service ace by Carsen Mata which made the score 18-10. Siena responded with a run of its own coming back to tie the score 22-22 after a Fairfield attack error. Dixion stopped the run with a kill that fell just inside the back line. The Saints overtook the Stags, 24-23, with an ace but Dixion tied it up with a kill. Siena managed to eke out the final two points of the set for the 26-24 win.
With the score tied 17-17 in the third set, Dirkin delivered a kill to give the Stags the lead and Dixion followed with another kill to make the score 19-17. Fairfield would not trail the rest of the set as Dirkin notched a kill and then teamed up with Romansky to block Siena's final swing of the game for the 25-22 win.
Trailing 3-2 in the third set, Reis stepped to the line and served three straight points, which included kills by Pokipala and Dirkin. The Stags extended its lead to 12-7 on a blast by Stapleton but the Saints would later cut it to three points. That's as close as Siena would get to extending its postseason as Stapleton put the match away with a kill.