Siena Women On The Way To Transforming A Program

siena women huddle

As the third season of Ali Jaques’ tenure as Siena head coach draws to a close, she reflected on what has been a truly special year. Bowing out to Quinnipiac in the MAAC Tournament Semifinal is naturally a disappointment, but at the same time it was not too hard to see all of the positive that a 19-12 record brings.

“It’s been a story book year for us in a lot of ways,” said Jaques. “We’ve been successful in turning a program around. Changing a locker room. Changing what’s expected. Changing expectations.”

It did not come easy. In her first year, Jaques transitioned into her role with an assist from the leadership of then senior and 1,000 point scorer Lily Grenci. Finishing at 13-18 was a one win improvement from the season prior and although it was a modest improvement, at least it was a step in the right direction.

Year two did not go so well. Minus Grenci, the team struggled to find its identity it seemed and suffered through a 9-22 record and 10th place finish. Asked to compare the feeling she had as coach a year ago versus the feeling now in light of this season’s success, Jaques couldn’t help but put things in perspective.

“Last year I was embarrassed and angry,” Jaques admits. “This year I’m proud and confident about the direction we are headed. We are on the rise.”

For this year’s team, its struggles were its strength. Faced with the reality of playing with just 7 players for most of the season, they had to play together. They couldn’t foul out. They couldn’t be hurt. They couldn’t be sick and they couldn’t give up. It wasn’t an option. They needed to band together, to get by, to survive and to win. And they did just that.

“No matter what happened, no matter what they faced, they never quit,” Jaques said. “They never said, ‘Why me?’ They’ve only said, ‘Try me’. That’s been our motto and I’m really proud of where we are at.”

Amongst the goals for the program was to allow this year’s senior class to go out with the first winning season of their career. In turn, the goal was to prevent this year’s freshmen from ever knowing the feeling of a losing season.

For senior Tehresa Coles, who hails from Loudonville, the home of Siena College, finishing out her career as a winner has been great. But helping to transform her hometown team from one which hadn’t had a winning season in 11 years to where it is now as she passes the torch, is even better.

“It’s been great because Siena is just such a special place and it’s such a special program. To be part of something so great and something that’s so loved in this community it really means a lot. I watched them growing up and now being a part of it, it’s special.”

Now in looking to the future, Jaques is hopeful that the foundation has been laid to continue to build. With the addition of four skilled players on the current roster who were inactive this season and a very talented incoming class, there is a lot to look forward to. To continue the success however, the key will be to take the lessons learned from this season and transform them into a winning formula for years to come.

“Our program’s challenge is turning this great chemistry into a winning culture. I’m just really proud of the state of our program and where we are. And, I’m really excited about where we’re headed.”

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  1. Pingback: Siena Women Shot Down by Quinnipiac In MAAC Semifinal | 4GuysinBlazers

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