Jersey City, N. J. - After winning six-straight regular-season matches to earn a bid into the conference tournament, the Canisius College volleyball team's run came to an end on Saturday. In the MAAC Championship semifinal, the No. 4 seed Golden Griffins fell to No. 1 seed Niagara in three sets by the score of 25-21, 25-22, and 33-31, at the Yanitelli Center on the campus of Saint Peter's College.
Sophomore Emily Elek led Canisius (15-15) with 10 kills to go along with a .421 attack percentage. Junior Samantha Good had eight kills and a .412 attack percentage. Sophomore Roxanne Hernandez led the team with three blocks. Senior Janelle Davis had 25 assists while junior Allyson Severyn had 14 digs.
"I can't overstate how proud and I am of my players and support staff and how privileged we are all to be a part of the Canisius College family," Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. "While we fell short of our ultimate goal, they are all outstanding people.
"At the end of the day, we didn't execute and play well enough against a very good Niagara team. I hope we look back on the year with pride. Thanks to the family and fans who have supported us through the ups and downs this season."
Niagara jumped out to a 13-9 lead in the first set, before the Griffs won three straight points to get within one at 13-12 on a service ace from sophomore Jessica Warner. Canisius would get within one a number of times, but could never take the lead from Niagara as the Purple Eagles won the first set.
Canisius held the early in the second set and was up 18-15 after a Niagara attack error. A kill from Hernandez put Canisius up 21-19, but the Purple Eagles won five of the last six points, which included three errors from Canisius on the last three points of the set, to go up 2-0 in the match.
The teams played an extremely tight third set, which featured 17 ties and seven lead changes. No team held a lead of more than three points the entire set. With the score knotted at 20-20, a kill from senior Danielle Brawn and Niagara attack error gave the Griffs a two-point lead. Niagara would come back and fight off the first Canisius set point at 24-23. The Purple Eagles had their first match point at 25-24, but a service ace from Severyn tied the score. Canisius had five set points, but could never force the fourth set. Niagara finally won the match on its fourth match point.
"We thank our seniors for what they have given to our program during their four years," Hummel said. "We definitely have something exciting to look forward to with the play of our returning players."
Hannah Hedrick and Kari Honomichl led Niagara (24-8) with 15 kills apiece. Sam Morgan had a match-high 18 digs while Nicole Bayer had 39 assists. Amanda Wilken added 11 kills.
Davis was named to the All-Tournament Team for Canisius
"Janelle has led our team as an unsung heor for four years," Hummel said. "I'm glad she is recognized in her last collegiate match."