Volleyball falls to Quinnipiac, upsets MAAC-leading Fairfield
By: Vinnie Christiano III
This past weekend, the Canisius Volleyball split their weekend road trip through Connecticut, dropping the Saturday contest against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, but emerging with a stunning upset victory over the Fairfield Stags on Sunday.
The Griffs had hosted both teams earlier in the season, being swept by Fairfield before only taking one set from Quinnipiac. On Saturday, the Bobcats once again took a lead, this time winning the first two sets. Quinnipiac led the entirety of the first set, and were trailing for the beginning of the second before scoring seven points in a row to go up 17-10 and hold the lead. Canisius battled back to win the third set, a set in which they trailed for the majority of time, but were unable to force a fifth set, dropping the fourth by a score of 25-21.
Disappointed with the result, the team got together on Saturday evening to gameplan for Sunday’s matchup against the top team in the conference, and their plan for the rest of the year. “The biggest thing is that we’re playing for a bigger cause than for ourselves,” head coach Shannon Thompson said. “We have a lot of players that aren’t from New York, some of them they don’t see their brothers and sisters grow up. So it’s just getting back to that cause of it being bigger than us as individuals and playing to be the best versions of ourselves instead of worrying about wins and losses.”
Senior outside hitter Hannah Nelson, who has returned to form over the past two weekends as one of the team’s most outstanding players statistically, emphasized that the team’s resiliency is one of the biggest reasons for their bounce-back effort on Sunday. “The biggest part of the conversation we had was that we needed to focus on making the job easier for the person next to us. We walked away from those conversations very positive and very excited for the next day; I’m sure a lot of teams after having the Saturday we had would not be excited to have Fairfield the next day, but we were pumped,” Nelson said.
Against the Stags, junior Ella Loussia paced the Griffs with a career-high 22 kills and the team recorded a season high 17 blocks. Despite trailing late in all five sets, and Fairfield barely edging out a win in the third set 27-25, Canisius stole a 25-23 win in the fourth set to force a fifth set. In the fifth set, again Fairfield jumped to a lead, this time getting all the way to match point, but the Golden Griffins forced three straight errors to overtake the lead on the scoreboard and win the day.
Ashley Kekeisen had a standout performance as the team’s lone starting setter in the match, recording a career high 54 assists. Nelson ended the match with a hitting percentage of over .300, and Thompson emphasized her standout performance.
However, when Nelson was asked about players who were key in the Sunday victory, she said, “literally everyone [was important], there is not a single person on this team who didn’t play a part in that game.”
The next game for the Griffs is this Saturday against Manhattan, which is the team’s senior day, where the team will be celebrating it’s seven seniors. That match begins at noon from the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs finish out the weekend homestand again at noon on Sunday, this time against the Iona Gaels.