LEWISTON, N.Y. – It’s been a common theme throughout the 2008 season for the Canisius College volleyball team, and the Golden Griffins rallied again on Wednesday night. Canisius defeated Niagara 21-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-20, 15-9 at the Gallagher Center to win its fifth straight match.. Canisius improves to 14-6 overall and 9-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The win pulls Canisius even with Niagara at 2-2 in the Battle of the Bridge competition between the schools.
Sophomore Renee Lettow led the Golden Griffins with a career-high 18 kills. Freshman Danielle Brawn had a career-high 23 digs. Senior Nicole Fafard added a season-high 10 kills while freshman Janelle Davis had a double-double with 35 assists and a career-high 15 digs.
“With Morgan out tonight, we had a number of players step up and make key plays at pivotal points in the match,” Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. “I felt the momentum really tilted in our favor after a block by Brittany Gerde early in the fifth set. From that point, our team built on that play and pulled out a great win over Niagara.”
Niagara (4-19, 2-9 MAAC) jumped out quickly, building an 18-9 lead in the first set. Canisius would chip away at the lead, but never got closer than three as the Purple Eagles went up 1-0.
Canisius carried over that momentum from the end of the first set to build an early lead of its own in the second set. Davis served the first seven points of the set to give Canisius a 7-0 lead it would never relinquish.
The Purple Eagles took their turn at building an early lead, going up 10-3 in the third set before Canisius battled back. The Griffs would get within two at 11-9 after a Niagara error, but Niagara would win four of the next five points to push the lead to 15-10 and eventually go up 2-1.
The teams played their closest set of the match in the fourth. With the score tied at 10-10, Canisius would go on a 4-1 run to go up 14-11, but Niagara responded with a four-point run to take a 15-14 lead. That would be the last lead of the match for the Purple Eagles as Canisius won four straight points to go up 18-15 and won the set on a kill by Davis.
After the teams split the first two points of the fifth set, Canisius broke it open by winning five consecutive points – getting two kills from Lettow and a block from Brittany Gerde and Michelle Godfrey. Niagara got within four on two occasions, but never got any closer as Canisius won the match on the 15th Niagara service error of the night
Holly Allgeier led the Purple Eagles with 17 kills while Hannah Hedrick had 16 kills and 17 digs. Michelle James had 52 assists and 19 digs.
Canisius plays two matches on the road this weekend, starting at Marist on Saturday. Match time between the Griffs and Red Foxes is set for 2 p.m.
Match Notes: Wednesday’s game will be televised locally on Time Warner 13 in Buffalo. Air times are scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday... Canisius has now defeated Niagara in four of the last five meetings... Canisius is 8-5 this season after losing the first set and is 6-2 in five-set matches... Niagara had 61 errors in the match – 35 attack errors, 15 service errors, seven receiving errors, two block errors and two ball-handling errors... Brawn had 34 digs on the season prior to her 23-dig total in Wednesday night’s match... Davis had her seventh double-double of the season... Canisius is 9-2 in the MAAC for the second time in three seasons... The five-match winning streak matches the longest winning streak by a Canisius team in the last five seasons.