The Canisius College volleyball team secured its berth in the 2008 MAAC Championship with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-22) victory over rival Niagara on Saturday night. The Griffs clinched the three seed for next weekend’s conference tournament and will face host and second-seeded Siena in the semifinals on Sunday.
“Tonight’s win was the icing on the cake for possibly our best team at Canisius,” said Griffs head coach Cathy Hummel. “It was a great way to send our seniors off by earning the three seed for the MAAC Championship.”
Senior Morgan Ammons led the Canisius attack in her final home game, posting 17 kills. Sophomore Renee Lettow added 11 kills and three solo blocks to help the Griffs earn the MAAC Championship berth.
Freshman Janelle Davis recorded 39 assists and registered nine digs. Senior Sarah Podlesh posted a team-best 17 digs to lead the Griffs’ defensive effort.
The first set was back-and-forth with neither team gaining more than a three-point advantage. Trailing 22-20, the Purple Eagles registered the last five points of the set to take an early 1-0 advantage.
The Griffs (17-10, 12-6 MAAC) came back strong, controlling the next two sets to take a 2-1 advantage. Canisius won 11-of-12 points to seize a 14-3 advantage in the second frame and never looked back en route to the 25-12 victory. In the third set, the Griffs trailed Niagara, 8-6, but outscored the Purple Eagles 19-7 the rest of the way to gain a one-set edge.
Niagara (6-24, 4-14 MAAC) would not give up and the two teams played a competitive fourth set. Neither team was able to gain more than a three-point lead and after 42 points, the two squads were tied at 21. The Griffs forced a Niagara attack error and Ammons registered her team-leading 17th kill to give Canisius a two-point advantage. After a Purple Eagle kill, senior Brittany Gerde finished the match with two-straight kills to give the Griffs the victory.
The Canisius seniors finished their careers at the Koessler Athletic Center in style. Canisius finished MAAC play at home undefeated, winning all nine contests. Before the game, the Griffs honored Ammons, Gerde, Podlesh and Nicole Fafard for their accomplishments and dedication to the Golden Griffin volleyball program.
Match Notes: The Griffs now hold a 10-4 advantage over Niagara in the Battle of the Bridge series ... Gerde posted six kills in her final home game, while Fafard recorded three digs ... The Griffs split two matches with Siena earlier in the season, with each team winning at home ... The Canisius softball team was honored between the second and third sets for winning the 2008 MAAC Championship.