The Canisius volleyball team couldn't finish its fifth-set rally losing to Iona College in the Hynes Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon. The Gaels won 26-24, 21-25, 14-25, 25-19, 18-16 as Canisius drops to 16-11 overall and 13-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Senior Samantha Good continued her dominant play, posting a career-high 24 kills with five blocks and a .488 attack percentage. Junior Jessica Warner had a double-double with 10 kills and 17 digs. Junior Sydney Palka had 54 assists while senior Allyson Severyn recorded 38 digs.
"Our first touch on service reception wasn't good enough today, and we couldn't get enough points from our outside hitters when we needed them," Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. "It was a tough day against an Iona team that has improved a lot."
The teams opened the match with two close sets. In the opening set, Iona scored four of the first five points but after Canisius tied the score at 4-4, neither team held more than a two-point lead the rest of the set. After a kill from senior Logan Sulongga put Canisius up 24-22, the Gaels would fight off two set points and took four straight points to win the first set 26-24 on a service ace from Alicja Pawelec.
Canisius trailed on only one point in the second set when Iona led 9-8. The Griffs reclaimed the lead with back-to-back kills from junior Emily Elek to make it 10-9. Iona tied the score twice but could never get the lead back as Canisius won the set by taking the final three points. Sulongga and Warner each had a kill while sophomore Emily Litwin clinched the set with a service ace.
The Griffs broke the third set open by scoring five straight points and using a 10-2 run to build an 18-10 lead. Good had two kills during the run and combined with Palka on one block and with Sulongga on another block. After Iona cut the deficit to five points at 19-14, the Griffs won the final six points of the set, including two kills from freshman Lauren Siebert, to take the set. Iona forced a fourth set when the Gaels took the final five points of that set, to win it 25-19.
In the fifth set, Canisius won four of the first five points, but the Gaels battled back and tied the score at 5-5. A dump kill from freshman Grace Streicher gave Canisius an 8-7 lead, but Iona scored the next two points to go up 9-8. A kill from Siebert off the block knotted the score at 9-9. The teams traded sideouts before Iona won two straight points, including a service ace off the tape to go up 12-10. Down 14-11, Canisius would fight off three match points and get its own match point at 15-14, but the Gaels used a kill from Taylor Cembalisty to tie the score at 15-15. After the 24th kill of the day from Good put Canisius up 16-15, the Gaels fought off the second Canisius match point on another kill from Cembalisty. Iona then used a kill from Catrina Warren and a block from Warren and Cembalisty to win the match.
Pawelec led all players with 25 kills and also had 15 digs. Warren also posted a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs. Iona improved to 9-2 at home this season, with both losses coming in five sets.
The Griffs conclude the regular season on Sunday, facing Fairfield University in Alumni Hall. Match time is set for 2 p.m.
A win for the Griffs over the Stags would give Canisius a share of its first MAAC regular-season title in program history. The Griffs would win the seeding tiebreaker and be the No. 1 seed (playing Niagara) in next week's MAAC Championship (Nov. 17-18 at Fairfield University). If Canisius loses, the Griffs will be the No. 3 seed (playing Siena) if Niagara also loses. If the Griffs lose and Niagara wins, the Griffs will be the No. 4 seed (playing Fairfield).
Notes: Canisius falls at Iona for the sixth consecutive season... After winning seven straight sets that go to extra points, the Griffs have lost their last three sets and are now 7-4 in sets with extra points this season... The 24 kills by Good are the most by a Golden Griffin since Mary Boller had 24 kills against Rider on Oct. 16, 2006... Warner had a career high for digs and her team-best sixth double-double of the season... Sulongga posted at least 13 kills for the third time in the last six matches... Litwin recorded double-digit digs for the seventh time this season... Palka had at least 50 assists for the third time in the last six matches... Severyn matched her career high with the 38 digs (Oct. 28 at Loyola).