Griffs fall to Quinnipiac in MAAC championship semi-final

Cassidy Ceriani sets the ball. Photo courtesy of Dean Bogart.

By: Matt Duke

Hannah Nelson made Canisius history in the MAAC volleyball tournament, which took place Nov. 23, as she broke the single-season record for aces in a season. 

The Griffs took on Quinnipiac in the first round of the MAAC tournament. They finished the season with a 12-6 record in conference play, which was good enough for second place, and the Bobcats finished 8-10 on the season, placing them sixth in the conference.

After a long, hard fought match between the pair, the Bobcats bested the Griffs three sets to two. The Griffs were unable to advance to their second consecutive finals.

The Griffs jumped out to an early lead in the first set, a feat which was aided by Hannah Nelson’s record tying 54th and 55th aces for the year. Quinnipiac was able to battle back, and the Griffs dropped the first set, 23-25.

The second set saw a similar outcome as the first, with Quinnipiac besting Canisius 15-25. Canisius fell behind early, but they were able to battle back and stay in the set until an 8-0 run by Quinnipiac boosted them to victory.

After taking a punch in the mouth in the first two sets, the Griffs battled back with a 25-18 victory in the third set. A defensive effort propelled the Griffs to victory, as they put up 10 blocks in the third frame to lead the team to a season-high 19 blocks on the night. The blocking leaders for the Griffs were Leah Simmons, who had 12, and Camille Vanleer, with 10. Vanleer’s 10 blocks is the most by a freshman since Simmons achieved it.

The fourth set saw Nelson make Canisius history with two more aces, bringing her tally to 57 on the year. This launched the team towards a 25-20 victory, forcing a fifth and final set.

The final set remained close throughout. The Griffs took an early 3-0 lead, but Quinnipiac battled back to make it 6-3. The set evened up at 9-9, but the Bobcats pulled it out to upset the Griffins with a score of 15-12.

The Bobcats would continue to the finals where they took on the Fairfield Stags. Fairfield bested them in four sets, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to Nelson’s record setting season, Cassidy Ceriani finished her college career with 3,729 assists, the second most in program history. She also totaled 1,118 digs in her four years at Canisius, placing her eighth in Canisius’s history.

This year marks the second consecutive year that the Griffs finished second in the MAAC. The team looks to continue this success into the coming seasons. They team graduates four seniors this year, but looks to build off of the young talent on the team. 

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