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Griffs Split at Gannon, Men Rally in Win

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 01/12/2013
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After over a month off, the Canisius College men's and women's swimming and diving teams returned to dual action at Gannon University on Saturday morning at the Carneval Athletic Pavilion. In men's action, the Golden Griffins rallied to defeat the Knights, 111-94, while the women dropped a 127-78 decision to No. 19 Gannon. Diving was not contested in the dual due to facility issues.

On the men's side, the Golden Griffins defeated the Knights for the third straight dual with the Canisius women falling for the third consecutive time to Gannon.


"As a team, we showed a lot of compete," said head coach Scott Vanderzell. "Although we started slow to begin the day, we were able to build on each race. This showed determination and resolve from each squad."

In the men's dual, Gannon jumped out to an early 49-25 lead over the Golden Griffins through the first four races. The Knights captured first-place finishes in the opening four men's events, including the 400-yard medley relay. The momentum would swing the way of the Griffs after sophomore Sam Hansen's first-place finish in the 400-yard IM (4:18.01).

Senior Shawn Parkhurst would take the next event in the 100-yard butterfly (51.91) to keep the Griffs' comeback rolling with senior Matt Moessinger placing third (53.64). The dual marked Moessinger's return to the lineup since last season's MAAC Championship.

En route to the rally, sophomore Nick Sereday captured first place in the 100-yard freestyle (48.89).

Parkhurst's first-place finish with a season-best performance in the 100-yard backstroke (53.97) gave the Griffs their first lead of the day, 76-74. In the event, sophomore Garrett Graesser placed third (56.67) and Tyler Evans took fourth (57.10). The dual was Graesser's career debut as a Griff.

With a career-best in the 500-yard freestyle, freshman Spencer Bray placed first (4:45.63) with Hansen following in second (4:54.57).

Seniors Tyler Carver and Mike Disco helped secure the Griffs' lead heading into the final relay with first- (59.96) and third-place (1:02.56) finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke, respectively.

Despite Gannon's first-place performance in the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:08.55), the Griffs placed second (7:08.67) and third (7:30.79) to seal the victory over the Knights.

"We found ourselves behind early but showed tremendous character and commitment to racing," said coach Vanderzell. "In the end, we were able to battle back for the win."

On the women's side, the Golden Griffins faced a nationally-ranked Gannon squad. The Knights entered the weekend ranked 19th in the recent College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division II Swimming and Diving national rankings. In the dual, the Knights relied on five individual titles and a sweep in the 400-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays en route to the victory.

After four first-place performances for the Knights, the Golden Griffins captured their first top-finish of the day in the 400-yard IM with freshman Clare Battaglia placing first (4:44.88). The freshman would also place second (1:01.05) in the 100-yard backstroke.

In both the 100-yard butterfly and 500-yard freestyle events, the Griffs swept the first two spots. Freshman Alicia Wheeler and junior Anna Schena combined to take first (1:01.67) and second (1:01.93) in the 100-yard butterfly, respectively. In addition, sophomore Marissa Oakey and Schena scored first- (5:22.27) and second-place (5:24.28) finishes in the 500-yard freestyle.

Competing in the 1650-freestyle for the first time this season, Oakey placed second (18:10.44) followed by Schena in third (18:43.18).

"Despite the score, the women battled hard and showed tremendous improvement in each of the races," said coach Vanderzell.

The Blue and Gold return to action on the road on Jan. 19 against MAAC rival Niagara in a Battle of the Bridge competition. The dual will begin at noon.  

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