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  • The Griffin

What comes next for Canisius Athletics

The Griffin’s newest Sports Editor looks to the past and future of the University’s sports scene

By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor

After a winless 2021 campaign, Canisius’s Women's Soccer improved to a .500 winning percentage in 2022, all while fighting their way into their First MAAC Semifinal matchup since 2013. The tight contest was decided by a single goal, netted in the 81st minute of play, as First-seeded Quinnipiac squeezed by the Griffs en route to claiming a MAAC championship after defeating Niagara in the final. Ryan Louis showed major improvement in his second year as full-time head coach (interim in 2020), and looks to build off the foundation laid in 2022, and his girls have the ability to break in Demske Sports Complex’s brand new turf, on August 17th in a non-conference matchup against Cornell.

For most head coaches, the first year with a program shouldn’t be judged on wins and losses, but on creating a culture and a standard for the program going forward. That's exactly what Michael Tanke did after the Griffs made him the 15th head coach in Canisius’ Men’s Soccer history. After spending five years in Rochester as a part of the Empire United MLS Next development program Tanke led the Griffs to a record that saw just a single win. After his first year with the program, he set out to recruit and improve beyond the dead last finish that Canisius closed out with in the MAAC, bringing thirteen newcomers into the program. The needle in the program won't be too hard to move as the team has a combined four wins since 2019, and has a chance to get off to a hot start against Saint Francis on August 24th in the Griffs first non-exhibition game of the season.

Canisius Volleyball kicks off their season at the Doubletree by Hilton YSU Invitational appearing in a three game slate across August 25th and August 26th. Second year head coach Tom Hanna looks to build off the improvements seen in his first year with the program. In his first year with the Griffs, Hanna led the girls to a 13-15 record, more importantly finishing 11-7 in MAAC play. Much of the success in 2022 came thanks to Freshman setter, Ella Borque. Borque produced in her first season at Canisius becoming the first freshman in the school’s history to finish with over one thousand assists, leading the conference in the category as well. Her offensive play is what won her the MAAC awards for rookie of the year and setter of the year. It’s likely that it also got her to become a member of the All-MAAC second team. For the second straight year, Canisius was voted fifth in the pre-season poll, and has a chance to start their year on the right foot against Youngstown State on Friday, August 25.

Cross-Country kicks their season off as they always do, participating in the Little Three Championship against Niagara and St. Bonaventure. Hosting the event at Delaware Park this year, the Little Three Championship will be the first of four events that the mens and womens teams will compete in before running in the MAAC Championships on October 28th. In the four regular season events last fall, the men had finishes of first, fifth, twenty-first, and third before finishing fifth in the MAAC Championship and twenty-second in the Regional Championship For the women they saw their team finish in first, sixth, twenty-fifth and second before coming in sixth in the MAAC Championship and twenty-seventh in the Regional championships.

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