LEWISTON, N.Y. — The Canisius College volleyball team rallied in the first set, but couldn't come from behind in either of the next three sets as Niagara University defeated the Golden Griffins 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 in a Battle of the Bridge matchup at the Gallagher Center on Wednesday evening. Canisius drops to 11-9 overall and 8-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference but maintains first place in the league standings.
Senior Samantha Good led the Golden Griffins with 16 kills and a .452 attack percentage on the evening. Senior Logan Sulongga added nine kills while freshman Rachel Kline set career highs with eight kills and 10 digs. Junior Sydney Palka had 42 assists, her fifth straight match with 40-plus assists, while senior Allyson Severyn had 15 digs.
we struggled with the first touch, our offense became scattered and prevented
us from getting into any flow," Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. "At times, I felt we were pushing a little too
much to try and make something happen instead of staying disciplined.
"Every match gives us an opportunity to learn and get better as a team. We need to do just that and bounce back this weekend."
Niagara (10-10, 7-3 MAAC) came out quickly, winning six of the first seven points and eventually building a 13-7 lead. Canisius then dominated the rest of the set as the Griffs closed the set on an 18-6 run, including a 14-1 spurt that featured six kills from Good. The Griffs won the set on a kill from junior Roxanne Hernandez.
The teams stayed close throughout the entire second set that featured 10 ties and four lead changes as Niagara would eventually build a 21-16 advantage. Canisius won three straight points, getting two kills from Good and a kill from Sulongga, to cut the deficit to 21-19. Niagara pushed its lead to 24-20 and the Griffs fought off two set points to make it 24-22, However, the Purple Eagles would even the match on a Canisius service error.
Niagara won four straight points midway through the third set to go up 14-9, but Canisius came back with three straight points, capped by a block from Good and Sulongga, to make it 14-12. The Griffs could never cut the deficit to fewer than two points, as Niagara took the third set.
Niagara pulled away in the fourth set with a 7-1 run to go up 13-6. The Griffs could never put together a big enough run, cutting the lead to 14-10 before Niagara won four of five points to push the lead back to seven points. A kill from Kari Honomichl closed out the match.
Honomichl led all players with 21 kills to go along with 12 digs in posting a double-double. Ellen Senf had 13 kills and a .348 attack percentage. Michelle James recorded a match-high 53 assists.
Canisius returns to the Koessler Athletic Center for two matches this weekend. The Golden Griffins host Siena on Saturday and Marist in a Dig Pink match on Sunday. Match time on each day is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Niagara now leads 4-0 in the all-sports Battle of the Bridge competition. Six points will be on the line on Saturday, Oct. 27, with the men's and women's cross country teams racing in the MAAC Championships and the schools meeting in women's soccer... Niagara defeats Canisius for the ninth consecutive meeting... Good moved into eighth place on the career kills list and now has 1,061 in her career. She needs 13 kills to move into sixth place... Severyn had double-digit digs for the 32nd straight match and now needs 26 digs to become the program's all-time leader... Sophomore Emily Litwin had 10 digs and recorded double-digit digs for the fourth time in the last five matches... Kline entered the match with four kills and six digs on the season... Palka is the fourth player in the last 10 seasons to have a streak of five straight matches with 40-plus assists.