By: Jay Ashdown
The Canisius women’s soccer team remains winless at 0–14–2 after several more losses as their season continues. The two latest teams they fell victim to were top-seeded Monmouth and rival Niagara.
Heading into their matchup against Monmouth, the Hawks were 5–0–1 in conference play and 9–3–1 overall. Playing the top team in the conference on senior day would be a tall order for the Griffs, but they were up to the challenge early.
Due to solid defensive play and outstanding goaltending, the Griffs found themselves notched at 0 after the first half of play. The Griffs’ defensive style of play frustrated Monmouth, and they found ways to clear any dangerous attempts and keep Monmouth from having any great offensive chances.
This style continued for much of the second half, but as the game continued the Griffs got more confident and continued to get a bit more aggressive.
It was the visiting Hawks, though, who got on the board first. Jill Conklin scored in the 65th minute for her third goal of the season as she found a way to squeeze the ball through a crowd in front after Monmouth was awarded a corner kick.
The goal felt back-breaking, since Canisius hadn’t scored a goal against Monmouth since 2014. Despite the fact that they were down 1–0 and they have struggled mightily against Monmouth in recent years, the team never quit.
Finally, the Griffs patience and persistence paid off when Canisius answered in the 72nd minute. Junior Jen Romero recorded her third goal of the campaign when she settled down the ball in front after nobody could control it, and she fired it into the right of the net past the Hawks goalkeeper, Rebecca Winslow, to tie it at 1.
With less than 10 minutes left in full time, Monmouth retook the lead, scoring the back-breaking goal to pull ahead 2–1. After being awarded with a corner kick, Conklin passed the ball off to Bruno, who drove it past Canisius goalkeeper Jordan Spencer to seal the win.
Despite the loss, Canisius held their own against a very good team due to a complete effort on defense, as well as receiving solid goaltending from the freshman Spencer. Spencer made five saves in the loss, and the five saves she made were all quality saves.
Trying to build off the momentum they had in the Monmouth game, Canisius came out early and attacked against their rival Niagara, hoping to break the spell and earn their first win of the season.
The Griffs’ early aggressiveness paid off as sophomore Tiani Fonoti opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a strike just outside the penalty arc, putting the ball into the left side of the net past the diving Niagara goalkeeper, Felicia Grufman.
Finoti was on fire for the Griffs as she found the back of the net again to make it 2–0 just three minutes later. An unbelievable start for the Griffs and the team found themselves up on their rival.
As the game continued, it felt like the Griffs were truly building momentum from the Monmouth game, playing with confidence and a solid pace, and it felt like they would finally win their first game of the season.
After a great first half, the wheels fell off the bus for the Griffs, as the team collapsed and yielded three second-half goals to lose yet again in regulation.
Djeynaba Thiam got Niagara on the board with a goal in the 59th minute before tying the contest at two with another marker in the 64th minute. Emma Bough gave the visiting Purple Eagles their first lead of the game at the 77:20 mark, sealing the victory for Niagara. Jessica Jones made 9 saves in the start for the Griffs, but it just wasn’t enough.
Canisius wraps up their season with a matchup Saturday against Saint Peter’s. This match is the team’s last chance to get that elusive first win of the season. Kickoff between the Griffs and Peacocks is scheduled for noon from Jaroschak Field in Jersey City, N.J.