Buffalo, N.Y. - Junior Brianna Smith of the Canisius College women's soccer team was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for her game-winning goals in the Golden Griffins' sweep of conference opponents Saint Peter's and Manhattan in the team's final home weekend, the conference office announced on Monday afternoon.
"Bri had an outstanding weekend scoring four goals with two game-winners. She has found a better flow to the game recently and has scored some very important goals for the Griffs, said head coach Jim Wendling. "We need her to keep that up if we want to compete in our last three MAAC conference games."
For the second consecutive contest, Smith scored the game-winning goal, as the Golden Griffins defeated Manhattan by the score of 2-1 in the team's home finale at the Demske Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon. In the win over Manhattan, Smith headed home the gamewinner in the 75th minute off a corner kick by sophomore back Jenny Piaggione.
Prior to Sunday's win, Smith rallied the Griffs to a 3-2 comeback win in double overtime over Saint Peter's on Friday evening with her first career hat trick. With just under three minutes remaining in the second extra period, junior Katie Griffin sent a through ball to Smith, who found herself alone with the Peacocks' goalkeeper. With a one-on-one chance, Smith buried the opportunity to give the Griffs a 3-2 win and their first conference win of the season. Smith led the Griffs' offense, accounting for close to half of the team's 28 total shots with 12 in the contest.
The junior helped snap the Griffs' six game winless streak in the win over the Peacocks. Smith has accounted for six of the Griffs' last seven goals since opening conference play on Iona on Oct. 5, registering 12 points in the span of four games. As the Griffs' leading goal scorer and point leader, she currently has ten goals for 20 points on the season.
"It was exciting to see her back in her old form scoring goals. I applaud her great weekend," stated Wendling. "Now I would like to see her add to her attacking repertoire by recording an assist or two."
Smith is the second Griff to earn a conference weekly honor. For the weekend of Sept. 14, junior goalkeeper Megan Tock was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Week as she collected 10 saves in the Griffs' 2-0 victory over Duquesne on Sept. 14.
Smith's conference weekly honor is the first time she has received offensive honors in her career. As a freshman, Smith was named MAAC Rookie of the Week for the weekend of Sept. 10.
With ten goals on the season, she is currently the MAAC leading goal scorer and is tied for the lead in game-winning goals (3). In addition, she ranks second in shots (52) and points (20).
The Blue and Gold return to action this weekend with a pair of conference contests on the road. The Griffs open the weekend on Friday evening at Rider with the kickoff set for 7 p.m. before traveling to Loyola on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. matchup.