The Canisius volleyball team got back in the win column with a three-set sweep of rival Niagara University in the Koessler Athletic Center on Wednesday night. The Golden Griffins won 27-25, 25-22, 25-17 to improve to 3-2 in the MAAC and snap a nine-match losing streak to the Purple Eagles.
Senior Emily Elek posted a match-high 13 kills and eight blocks as Canisius had 12.5 team blocks on the day. Sophomore Lauren Siebert had nine kills and four blocks while freshman Katlyn Tyler had nine kills and 14 digs. Setters Sydney Palka and Grace Streicher combined for 38 assists while junior Emily Litwin had 19 digs.
“It feels great to get back in the win column after a tough weekend and do it against our rival makes it feel a little bit better,” Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. “Our block really picked up in the last two sets as we started to serve tougher. Our senior class picked our team up early and fought us through the first-set adversity to take the early lead.”
Canisius jumped out to a 15-6 lead, winning six straight points on the Streicher’s serve. Niagara battled back but a block from senior Roxanne Hernandez and freshman Jacklyn Malusa made it 24-22. Niagara fought off two set points but a kill from Elek made it 25-24. After Niagara made it 25-25, an attack error followed by a service ace from senior Jessica Warner gave Canisius the first set.
Canisius went up 17-12 in the second set on a kill from Elek, who had six kills in the set. Niagara got within two at 21-19, but Canisius would go up 24-20 on a kill from Hernandez. The Griffs, who hit .308 in the second set, took the set on their third opportunity on a kill from Warner.
The Griffs won the first two points of the third set and eventually used an 8-1 run to go up 10-3 on a block from Siebert and Warner. Niagara never seriously threatened in the set as Warner clinched the set again for the Griffs with a kill on the final point.
Melissa McGwin had 11 kills on 22 attack attempts for Niagara (1-15, 0-5 MAAC). Logan Rae had 18 digs while Amanda Sedore and Allison Ries each had 16 digs.
Canisius (5-11, 3-2 MAAC) continues its five-match homestand against Iona on Saturday, with match time in the KAC set for 1 p.m.
Notes: The Griffs defeated Niagara for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008… The win gives Canisius an early 1-0 lead in the Battle of the Bridge competition between the schools… Siebert had three or more blocks for the sixth time this season… Elek posted double-digit kills for the seventh time in 2013 and also had eight blocks for the second consecutive match… Hernandez is averaging 1.60 blocks per set in the last seven matches.