By: Stephen Lapage
After a tough showing in the 2022 Western New York invitational last week, the Canisius Golden Griffins hosted their first two conference games of the season against Fairfield and Quinnipiac. The Griffs went 1–1 and captured their first official home game win, as well as Tom Hanna’s first win at the KAC as Canisius’ head coach.
Fairfield started strong in conference play as they took the first set 25–14. Canisius tried to battle back against Fairfield in the second set, putting up 21 points, but Fairfield was unable to be stopped as they edged out the Griffins in the second set and continued their momentum to win the third set 25–18 and take the victory. Freshman Ella Bourque led the Griffins in assists with 29, and sophomore Taylor Baldwin led the team with 15 kills. Senior Bree Long added to her historic career, tallying 17 digs in the loss.
After falling to Fairfield, the Griffins looked to bounce back as they hosted Quinnipiac. Canisius started strong, winning the first set by a score of 25–15. Quinnipiac fought back and took the next two sets (both by a score of 25–20), but the Griffins were not out of it yet. Canisius powered back from behind in the fourth set to win by a score of 25–23 and tie the sets at 2–2. The Griffins continued that momentum in the fifth and final set, taking down Quinnipiac by a score of 15-7 and giving Tom Hanna his first official home win as head coach.
Canisius had outstanding performances by freshman Ella Bourque with 55 assists and senior Bree Long, whose 17 digs moved her past Erin Oveis and placed her as third in Canisius's volleyball history for digs. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Baldwin dominated the court with a record-breaking 29 kills and 5 blocks in the Griffin victory.
Baldwin's 29 kills not only topped her previous personal best of 18 kills, but she also broke Canisius’ school record of 28 kills which was set by Michele Green in 1994. Baldwin also received the honor as the MAAC player of the week for her performance against Quinnipiac — her first player-of-the week award of the season.
Canisius looks to carry this momentum as they play back-to-back games against their Battle-of-the-Bridge rival Niagara. Canisius will play at Niagara on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and host the Purple Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 25 at noon.