By: Vincent Christiano
The Canisius volleyball team split their series this past weekend, defeating St. Peter’s on Saturday and losing to Rider on Sunday to move to 6–4 in MAAC play.
The Griffs were coming off of a split the previous weekend, where they dropped the first weekend contest to Marist, but bested Siena on Sunday. This past weekend’s matchup against the St. Peter’s Peacocks marked the midpoint of the Golden Griffins’ regular season conference schedule.
In Saturday’s contest, the Peacocks narrowly emerged with a victory in the first set, winning 26–24. St. Peter’s led 20–14 at one point, and then had a 24–20 advantage for set point. However, the Griffs were able to draw even with a four-point run, helped by two quick kills from Ella Loussia. Despite their efforts, Canisius surrendered the following two points to St. Peter’s, resulting in the Peacocks earning the set victory.
The Blue and Gold stormed back, earning a dominant victory in the second set 25–11. The Griffs also took control of the third set, winning 25–18 to take the advantage in the match.
The fourth and ultimately final set was closer, and both teams exchanged the lead multiple times. In the end, the Griffs had a 23–22 lead and took advantage of two quick points to win the match three-sets-to-one.
Leading the way for the Blue and Gold was Rachel Kinney, who recorded 15 kills, supplemented by 20 digs. Another good Griffs performance was courtesy of freshman Avery Dole, who finished the match with 27 assists and seven digs. Junior Bree Long led the team with 28 digs.
On Sunday, it was a rematch of last year’s conference championship, when the second-place Rider Broncs came in for the last game of the weekend homestand. The Broncs rushed out to a lead after the first set, winning 25–20. Canisius quickly tied the match with a win in the second set, before taking the lead in the third courtesy of a 25–16 difference.
Momentum shifted in the fourth set, when Rider tied the match with a decisive 25–15 score. In the fifth and final set of the contest, Canisius claimed the lead at five different points, but a couple strong scoring runs from the Broncs helped them drop the Griffs in a 15–12 set triumph, winning the match 3–2.
Senior Ashley Kekeisen led the team with 27 assists, and Loussia once again led the team in kills with 16.
Canisius’s remaining conference schedule appears difficult, increasing the challenge of returning to the MAAC title game. The team will travel to Connecticut this weekend for a road swing against Quinnipiac and Fairfield, both of whom defeated the Griffs already this season. Fairfield still leads the conference with a 10–0 MAAC record.
After that, the Blue and Gold face a struggling Manhattan before facing Iona, who currently sit right behind Canisius in the standings. Following the Iona game are two games against cross-town rival Niagara, who at this point are tied with Canisius in MAAC play, before ending the year with another weekend series against Rider and St. Peter’s.
Both of this weekend’s games will be viewable on the Bobcat and Stags broadcast networks, respectively.