Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – After a slow start to the game, the Canisius College women’s lacrosse team dominated the second half en route to a 14-7 win in the MAAC Semifinals against Siena on Friday afternoon. The top-seeded Griffs now advance to Sunday’s championship game against either No. 2 Fairfield or No. 3 Marist, improving to 13-4 on the season. Siena finishes the 2013 campaign with a 4-12 record.
“Our intensity level was up-and-down today,” said Canisius head coach Scott Teeter. “We made enough plays when it counted and really rode two first-team All-MAAC players in Morgan Leonard and Ashley Bull all day. We just need regroup and come back with our ‘A’ game on Sunday.”
Senior Morgan Leonard led the Griffs offense in the victory, matching career highs with seven points and five goals. With her seven points, Leonard has now recorded 104 points at Canisius, becoming the 10th player in school history to reach the triple-digit mark. Leonard also picked up a personal-best seven ground balls, while freshman Ashley Bull set career highs with four ground balls and three draw controls to help anchor the Canisius defense.
Sophomore Tori Quinn chipped in five points on the offensive end, recording two goals and three assists. Junior Maria Kotas added four points on a pair of goals and two assists with sophomore Meghan Cuddy netting her second career hat trick. Senior Lindsey Morgan and sophomore Whitley Perry rounded out the scoring for Canisius with a goal apiece.
Sophomore Kayla Scully recorded seven saves in the crease to earn the victory.
In a sloppy first half, Leonard carried the Griffs in the opening 30 minutes of action by recording six of her career-best seven points. The senior opened the scoring in the game with 24:48 remaining for the early 1-0 advantage. After Siena tied the contest, Leonard gave the Griffs the lead for good, scoring her second of the day and then assisting on Quinn’s first goal for the 3-1 advantage. The assist on Quinn’s tally was the 100th point of her tenure in the Blue and Gold.
The Saints got one back but two-straight goals by the MAAC Midfielder of the Year stretched the Canisius lead to 5-2. The schools then traded a pair of scores before a Saints tally with 26 seconds left in the half sent the teams into the intermission with the Griffs ahead, 7-5.
A key adjustment in the second stanza helped the Griffs control possession and cruise to the victory. After losing 11 of the game’s first 15 draw controls, Canisius inserted freshman Brenna Murray into the draw circle. With an 8-6 lead, the Griffs responded by scoring the next six goals thanks to winning six of the game’s final eight draw controls.
Cuddy started the run by finishing an end-to-end goal for a 9-6 lead. Kotas and Morgan then added free-position tallies before one goal by Perry and two by Cuddy sealed Canisius’ fifth-straight MAAC Tournament victory with a 14-6 advantage. Siena scored the game’s final goal it wasn’t enough as the Griffs advance to Sunday’s title game. Overall, the Griffs outscored the Saints, 7-2, in the second half en route to the 14-7 win.
Canisius finished the contest with a 30-20 advantage in shots and 24-16 edge in ground balls, while the Saints won the draw-control battle, 13-10.
Maggie Deloria and Lauren Smith led the Saints with two goals apiece, while Ashley Holdridge recorded 11 saves in net.
Canisius now looks to Sunday’s title game when the Griffs attempt to become the first school to win three-straight MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Championships. Game time in Poughkeepsie is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Leonard is just four goals shy of Megan Oosting’s single-season record of 58 set last season … Quinn (72 points this season) became just the second Griff to top the 70-point mark in a single-season, joining her sister, Carly, who recorded 78 points last season … Quinn also moved to within three points of becoming the 11th player in school history with 100 career points … Canisius has now won its last eight games against the Saints and defeated Siena in the MAAC Semifinals for the second time (11-9 win in 2011).