LEWISTON, N.Y. – The Canisius volleyball team dominated the fourth set en route to defeating rival Niagara University in the Gallagher Center on Saturday afternoon and sweep the season series for the first time in five years. The Golden Griffins won 25-23, 25-19, 16-25, 25-13 to improve to 8-13 overall and 6-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Five Golden Griffins posted at least seven kills in the match, with freshman Jacklyn Malusa leading Canisius with 10 kills. Senior Roxanne Hernandez posted nine kills on 14 attack attempts. Freshman Katlyn Tyler had eight kills and 17 digs while junior Emily Litwin led the team with 23 digs.
“We haven’t won here for a number of years, so it’s always a good win to defeat your rival, especially on the road,” Canisius coach Cathy Hummel said. “We lost our way in the second half of that third set, but we really rebounded mentally and physically to close out the match in the fourth set.”
In the opening set, Canisius built an early lead with a 9-2 run that included a four-point run on the serve of sophomore Lauren Siebert and was capped by the second service ace of the season from the middle blocker, to go up by five points. Niagara chipped away at the Canisius advantage and eventually reclaimed the lead with a four-point spurt to go up 19-17.
Canisius trailed 23-20 before winning the next five points to take the opening set. That run included three kills from Malusa and Tyler with Malusa recording four kills on five swings in the first set. Litwin closed out the set with a service ace to give Canisius the first set.
In the second set, the teams stayed close for the first half of the set. Canisius appeared to be breaking it open with a five-point run capped by a service ace from sophomore Rachel Kline, to go up 18-13. Niagara answered right back with a five-point run of its own, capped by back-to-back service aces from Logan Rae, to even the score at 18-18.
Tyler hit a kill off the block to stop the Niagara run and keep the Purple Eagles from taking the lead. The Griffs finished the set strongly for the second consecutive time with Tyler’s kill igniting a 7-1 run. A service ace from senior Sydney Palka closed out the set and put Canisius up 2-0 in the match.
Canisius jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in the third set, riding the strong serve of Tyler and two kills from Siebert. The Griffs went up by as many as seven points on two occasions, using a block from Siebert and Tyler to take a 15-8 lead. Niagara didn’t go away quietly in the rivalry matchup as the Purple Eagles won seven straight points to even the score at 15-15 and won 17 of the final 18 points to force a fourth set.
Tyler’s strong serve opened up the fourth set as the Griffs won the opening six points on the freshman’s serve. The Griffs went on to dominate the last set as Canisius hit a season-best .519 in the fourth set. Canisius led by as many as 14 points in the set, posting four runs of three or more points.
Amanda Sedore recorded a double-double for Niagara (2-19, 1-9 MAAC) with 14 kills and 17 digs while Alex Stone also had a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs.
Canisius returns to the Koessler Athletic Center next weekend for two home matches. The Golden Griffins begin the weekend against Rider University on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. That match will serve as the team’s annual Dig Pink match. For more information on donating to the Side-Out Foundation, click here.
Notes: Canisius won at Niagara for the first time since Oct. 22, 2008, and swept the Purple Eagles for the first time since that 2008 season… Canisius cuts into Niagara’s lead as the Purple Eagles now lead 3-2 in the all-sports Battle of the Bridge for the Canal Cup.. Canisius had a season-high eight service aces in the match… Canisius won 15 of the 23 points served (65.2 percent) by Tyler, with the 15 points tying for the most points won on one players’ serve in a match this season.