The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Milestones and tears mark Quinnipiac’s win over Siena on senior day

Tyler Rinko
Sophomore outside hitter Yagmur Gunes had only one kill in Quinnipiac’s win over Siena on November 5, 2023.

HAMDEN, Conn – On likely the most emotional day since it won the MAAC Championship last November, Quinnipiac volleyball swept visiting Siena in straight sets on Sunday. 

The Bobcats last home game of the season also marked the final time three Quinnipiac players would grace Burt Kahn Court. Not only were two senior captains – setter Chloe Ka’ahanui and middle blocker Lexi Morse – honored on senior day, graduate student outside hitter Aryanah Diaz racked up her 1000th kill, only the second player to do so in the program’s Division I history. 

“It’s a milestone that I didn’t think I would reach, just cause I played so many different positions,” Diaz said laughing. “But to score it here, on a very special day for our seniors, it was really special.”

Diaz totaled nine kills, two service aces and seven digs at her last home game as a Bobcat, as well as killing the last point of the very close match to give Quinnipiac the win.

While the Ka’ahanui and Morse still have the option of returning for their fifth year of eligibility, for Diaz, this season is her last. 

“It’s a lot, it’s heavy,” Diaz said. “I got a little emotional during the game a couple times. I grew up in this gym, this is like my home. It was cool to get the milestone that I did today here and celebrate it with the girls I love.” 

Fifteen points into the first set as Quinnipiac led 10-5, head coach Kyle Robinson stopped the game to award the graduate captain a golden ball commemorating her milestone.

“For me, it’s tough, because these moments are special but it also signifies the end of something,” Robinson said. “When you have a player like Aryanah and the relationship we have, it’s personal, it means something. I’m just proud to have been a part of that journey with her.”

Despite the milestone, this day and this game wasn’t about Diaz. It belonged to her co-captains, seniors Morse and Ka’ahanui. 

Due to a season-ending injury, Ka’ahanui wasn’t able to play but that did not stop her from finally joining the bench dressed in uniform.

“I made the decision yesterday,” Ka’ahanui said. “I decided I wanted to suit up and just, you know, be a part of the team, to feel good in the jersey.” 

The Hawaiian native amounted 18 kills, over 1000 assists and 353 digs as a Bobcat. 

“I’m speechless right now, I’m so overjoyed, I’m so happy,” Ka’ahanui said smiling brightly. “I mean it’s one of the greatest feelings. It’s what you look forward to as a senior.”

Morse shined as bright as she could on her day. She did not commit a single error, added two block assists and three kills with a hitting percentage of .600, not the worst way to celebrate this day.

“(Ka’ahanui and Morse) have been a part of the foundation of our success,” Robinson said. “It’s still very special to see them grow and mature, not just as players but as young women.”

The middle blocker from Florida was cheered on loudly from the bleachers by multiple family members, including her grandparents. 

“It was surreal, they have been watching me every single game since my freshman year,” Morse said. “They haven’t been able to get to any of them because of their health before. So it just really means a lot to me that they were able to come here and just experience us winning in our house and having a great time.” 

Morse’s grandfather could be seen rousing the crowd as the game neared its end. 

“I met them yesterday. Her grandfather was like, ‘I’m proud of you’ and gave me a hug,” Robinson said as he teared up, rendered speechless, which prompted the associate head coach Katie Urycki to teasingly ask him: “You crying like a baby?”  

Neither of the seniors have yet revealed whether they are coming back for their fifth year, but Robinson isn’t worried about losing touch. 

“It’s never really the end,” Robinson said, wiping his tears away. “And even if it’s the end for volleyball, I know we’ll always be pretty close.”

Even though the Bobcats were able to claw out a win, the game could’ve easily ended differently. Quinnipiac only had 13 more total points than visiting Siena. While the teams were tied in attack errors at 14, it was the kills that made all the difference. 

Sophomore outside hitter Ginevra Giovagnoni led the team with 15 kills and 28 total attacks. Junior opposite hitter Alexandra Tennon wasn’t far behind, with eight kills and 25 total attacks, as well as leading the team with 13 digs. Sophomore setter Damla Gunes opened the game with one of her three total service aces and recorded 28 assists and a solo block. 

Though the Quinnipiac seniors were honored after the game, before its start Robinson made sure to extend this gesture towards Siena’s seniors, setter Meghan Johnsson and middle blocker Monet Latunde, giving each a flower bouquet.

“It’s a really easy way to be kind,” Robinson said. “These young women, they work really, really hard on our team, their team, all of the teams. They deserve to receive a little bit of kindness and a nice gesture of, ‘Congratulations, you’ve made it this far.’ I give them little gifts and usually write a little something to them.”

Quinnipiac now has two more games on the road before the MAAC Tournament. Its next game is against Rider on Nov. 11. 

The Bobcats now stand second in the conference, but another win will guarantee them a bye in the first round of the tournament.

“I think this shows how much we’ve grown as a program,” Diaz said. “Our confidence is there and a lot of people should be worried in the future about Quinnipiac volleyball.” 


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Alexandra Martinakova
Alexandra Martinakova, Editor-in-Chief
Tyler Rinko
Tyler Rinko, Associate Photography Editor

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *