By: Matt Duke
This past weekend, the Griffs took part in the Blue and White Invitational and they started league play by taking on rival Niagara University on Tuesday.
The Blue and Gold’s first game of the Blue and White Invitational, hosted by the University of Buffalo, was against the Cornell Big Red on Friday afternoon. Canisius was swept by Cornell in three sets, losing 17-25 in the first set, 15-25 in the second set, and 18-25 in the third set. In the match, Leah Simmons stood out from the middle blocker position, notching seven kills and four blocks. Bree Long also had a strong game, adding 11 digs and four assists. Camila Vazquez also made her season debut in the game.
Later that afternoon, the Griffs faced the St. Francis Red Flash in their second game of the tournament.
The Griffs reversed their fortune by completing a sweep in that game. They took the first set 25-23, then won handily in the succeeding two sets with scores of 25-11 and 25-8.
Simmons and Hannah Nelson led the team with nine kills a piece, and Nelson put up seven aces in the effort as well. Cassidy Ceriani helped propel Canisius to victory with 24 assists, as well as eight digs. Long had another impressive defensive effort with 10 digs and four assists.
The final match of the tournament was against University at Buffalo and was more eventful than the other two, as the Griffs pushed the match to five sets.
They ultimately lost in the fifth set, but the Griffs kept things interesting. The Blue and Gold took a close game one, 26-24.
They won game two by a slightly larger margin by way of a score of 25-18. The next two sets were taken by UB, 19-25 and 20-25 respectively.
Game five ended in heartbreak for Canisius, as they lost 11-15. Four Griffs, Ella Loussia, Hannah Nelson, Melina Woods, and Leah Simmons, all put up more than 10 kills in the final match.
Finally, on Tuesday, Canisius went to Niagara to take on the rival Purple Eagles. The Griffs took the match in four sets, with scores of 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23. Simmons led the team with 17 kills, and, again, Nelson added 11 kills for the Griffs.
The Griffs continue league play this week, as they face the Iona Gaels On September 28, and on September 29 they face the Manhattan Jaspers.
This is the first time the Griffs will face Iona since last year’s MAAC Championship appearance.