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Senior Morgan Leonard

Griffs Clinch Top Seed for MAAC Tournament

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 04/27/2013
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After a slow start to the game, the Canisius College women’s lacrosse team dominated the remainder of the first half to cruise to a 16-13 win against Marist on Senior Day. With the win, Canisius improves to 12-4 and completes a perfect MAAC regular season at 6-0, earning the top seed for next weekend’s conference tournament. The loss drops the Red Foxes to 8-9 and 4-2 against league foes.

“It’s always nice to send the seniors out with a win in their last home game and it was extra special to win the regular-season title outright and clinch the one seed for the MAAC Tournament,” said Canisius head coach Scott Teeter. “I thought we responded well after a slow start and then really dominated the first half. We now need to continue our strong play into championship weekend as we look to secure the NCAA bid.”

Senior Morgan Leonard led the Griffs with a career-best five goals in the winning effort, while classmate Lindsey Morgan was right behind with four tallies. Junior Maria Kotas also chipped in four points for the Griffs, scoring one goal to go along with three assists.

Sophomore Tori Quinn netted a hat trick with classmate Meghan Cuddy adding two goals. Senior Meghan McGunigle rounded out the scoring for the Griffs with one tally.

Sophomore Kayla Scully and senior Gina Molfetta split time in net for Canisius, combining to make seven saves on the afternoon. Morgan also helped anchor the Canisius defense with a game-high five ground balls and four caused turnovers.

The Red Foxes got off to a strong start in the contest, scoring three goals in the opening 4:54 of action to force an early Canisius timeout. The Griffs, however, would respond after the timeout to take control of the game and earn the program’s first outright MAAC regular-season championship.

Morgan ignited a Canisius run by forcing a turnover on the defensive end, collecting the ground ball and racing toward the Marist goal with the finish for the end-to-end tally to finally get the Griffs on the board. Leonard then scored two unassisted goals before Kotas gave the Griffs their first lead, 4-3, with 14:33 remaining in the half.

Both teams netted two goals for a 6-5 Canisius advantage but the Griffs pulled away with the final five tallies of the period. Morgan scored her second and third goals of the game to give Canisius a three-goal lead and Cuddy then netted a pair of goals just nine seconds apart with less than two minutes remaining for a 10-5 advantage. Quinn then finished the run by scoring with 19 seconds left as the teams headed into the intermission with Canisius leading, 11-5.

When all was said and done, the Griffs dominated the final 25 minutes of the opening half, outscoring Marist, 11-2. Canisius also finished with a 20-9 advantage in shots during the first 30 minutes of action.

The tempo slowed in the second stanza as Canisius held onto its lead. The Griffs’ advantage grew to as many as seven goals on two occasions before the Red Foxes scored the game’s final four goals for the 16-13 score.

Overall, Canisius finished the game with a slight edge in shots, 26-25, while Marist won the draw-control battle, 18-12.

Jamie Romano led the Red Foxes with six goals on the afternoon, while Ashley Casiano recorded five saves in net to take the loss.

Canisius now turns its attention toward the postseason. The top-seeded Griffs take on fourth-seeded Siena in the MAAC Semifinals, held on the campus of Marist. First draw between Canisius and Siena is scheduled for Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Game Notes: Saturday's game can be seen on Time Warner SportsChannel on Sunday night at 7 p.m. and on Monday night at 10 p.m. … The women’s lacrosse team is the first Canisius team to go undefeated in a MAAC regular season since the softball team went 10-0 in 1993 … The Griffs earned the top seed for the MAAC Tournament for the first time after five times finishing second … Canisius defeated semifinal opponent Siena, 13-3, in the regular season … The Griffs defeated Marist in back-to-back games for the first time in the program’s history … Maria Kotas matched her career high with three assists, also accomplishing the feat at Robert Morris on March 6 … Canisius won for the first time this season when allowing 10 or more goals in a game (were 0-4) … The Griffs honored their four seniors – Leonard, McGunigle, Molfetta and Morgan – before the game for appearing in their final contest at the Demske Sports Complex. The senior class has won 46 games, the most of any class in the program’s history.

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