The Canisius College volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit and then an 11-4 fifth-set deficit in defeating Fairfield University in the Koessler Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins won 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 17-15 to improve to 10-8 overall and 7-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Senior Samantha Good led Canisius with 17 kills to go along with a team-best six blocks. Junior Roxanne Hernandez had 11 kills and a .429 attack percentage. Junior Sydney Palka had 45 assists, freshman Grace Streicher had a career-high 13 digs and four service aces and sophomore Emily Litwin had her third straight match with double-digit digs, posting 15 on the day.
Senior Allyson Severyn had a match-high 28 digs and became the second player in program history to record 2,000 digs in her career.
"I don't know if I have been more proud of a team for not giving up and battling throughout all five sets," Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. "Volleyball matches ride on a lot of momentum, and this one was a perfect example of that."
The teams stayed very close throughout the first set, which featured 17 ties and nine lead changes. Fairfield took a 19-16 lead before three straight points from the Griffs tied it at 19-19. Canisius could never regain the lead as a kill from Caitlin Stapleton eventually won the first set. In the second set, Canisius won the first four points and held the lead for the majority of the set. Fairfield would rally late, winning seven of the last eight points, to go up 2-0 in the match.
Fairfield (12-8, 7-3 MAAC) built an 8-4 lead in the third set before a 7-2 run from the Griffs gave them an 11-10 advantage. The Griffs never gave up the lead the rest of the set and won three of the final four points, capped by a kill from Palka, to win the third set. In the fourth set, Canisius broke it open early, using three straight service aces from Streicher, to go up 8-2 and cruise to a 25-15 fourth-set win.
In the fifth set, Fairfield won the first four points before Canisius came back with four straight points to even the score at 4-4. The Stags then took seven straight points, a run that included four kills from Camille Coffey, to go up 11-4. The Griffs went on a 9-2 run, getting three blocks during the run, to even the score at 13-13. Another block gave Canisius its first match point, but the Stags would fight off match points at 14-13 and 15-14 before Canisius won the last two points of the match to complete the comeback win.
Stapleton led all players with 21 kills, one of four Stags to post double-digit kills in the match. Brianna Dixion had 15 kills while Coffey had 14 kills and 23 digs. Rachel Romansky recorded 56 assists and 15 digs.
Canisius wraps up the weekend against Iona College on Sunday, with match time in the Koessler Athletic Center set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Canisius has now won three of the last five matches between the teams in the Koessler Athletic Center... The Griffs rallied from a 2-0 deficit for the first time since Sept. 25, 2010, against Loyola... Streicher had four service aces on the day, entering the match with five on the season... Palka had 40 or more assists for the third straight match, the longest stretch since Janelle Davis had a stretch of four straight during the 2008 season... Severyn had the 100th match of her career with double-digit digs... Good had double-digit kills for the fourth straight match and has 20 blocks in the last three matches... Hernandez had double-digit kills for the fifth time this season... Canisius is now 32-16 since 2006 when posting double-digit blocks in a conference match.