Patrick Healy, Managing Editor
Forward Tiani Fonoti scored, goalkeeper Jordan Spencer stopped Cleveland State’s only shot on net, and Canisius’s women’s soccer team came away with a 1-0 win in their final non-conference game Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex.
Fonoti set an aggressive tone two minutes in, feeding freshman Lizzy Harkness for an opportunity palmed away at the last moment by Cleveland State keeper Liv Fain. Halfway through the first half, a Fonoti shot beat Fain but was stymied by a sliding Cleveland State defender at the goal line.
Twenty minutes into the second half, however, no defender could stop a blistering strike from Fonoti into Cleveland State’s top-right corner. Fonoti’s team-leading third goal of the year was assisted by Emma Oliphant and turned out to be the decisive moment in Canisius’s 1-0 victory. The Griffs finish non-conference play with 2 wins, 2 losses, and 3 draws. They begin MAAC play at home next Saturday at 1:00 against Rider University at the Demske Complex.
Head Coach Ryan Louis said postgame that, “from the minute the whistle blew, we took charge of the game. We were the dominating team. The first half, we were aggressive and put balls in the box. Credit to [Cleveland] State for defending them.” Louis was “just happy to see the ball put in the back of the net” in the second half.
Besides a game against the University at Buffalo, Louis said, “we’ve been the more dominant side” in their non-conference games. He said the mixed results “have just been a matter of capitalizing” and “piecing it all together.” The third-year head coach didn’t want to put more pressure on his team by stating specific expectations for the season, but he did say that “if we can play we’ve been playing so far this season, we should have a relatively successful season.”
The Griffin also spoke with recently voted co-captains Abby Molloy and Julia Schurr about the Cleveland State game and their expectations for the rest of the season.
Molloy, who has logged the second-most minutes on the team through the first seven games, saw a lot of positives both before and after the goal, particularly “being able to hold [Cleveland State] off and manage the game.” The senior center back is not too worried about the two yellow cards taken by the Griffs, saying that it is a side effect of playing aggressively. Echoing Coach Louis, Molloy emphasized that the Griffs need to better capitalize on chances in the final third. Schurr concurred—“we need to put more shots away.”
Schurr, a senior midfielder, said that over the past seven games, “we found our identity as a team.” Asked to elaborate on that identity, Schurr said that they want to be “more of a ball-playing team, direct at times, with a team-first mentality and outworking every opponent.” Alluding to their winless record last year, Schurr expects that in 2022 the team will “compete with every team in the MAAC.”
Both seniors spoke of the responsibility stemming from their captaincy. Schurr said it is an honor to know how much she is respected by her teammates. Molloy added that she is excited “to lead our team away from and on the field. The love I have for these girls is like nothing else.”