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Friday, April 21, 2017

Canisius women's lacrosse heads to Fairfield

All WNY News     Friday, April 21, 2017    

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Coming off of a 22-4 win over Quinnipiac last Saturday afternoon, the Griffs (11-4) head to Fairfield (10-4) in their seventh conference contest of the year. The Blue and Gold are a perfect 6-0 in MAAC play this season and are riding an eight-game win streak into Saturday’s matchup. The Stags are also 6-0 in MAAC play this season, tied with the Griffs for first place in the conference.

The Griffs are 10-14 all-time against the Stags, with their last match up coming in last year’s MAAC Championship Semifinal game, where the Golden Griffins gained a 10-7 victory. The teams have faced one another six times in the playoffs, including three MAAC Championship games, two of which the Griffs were victorious in, 2011 & 2012. Canisius and Fairfield first squared off during the 1999 season and have played at least once each year.

Junior Erica Evans leads the MAAC in goals (57), points (76) and ground balls (53), has the second most caused turnovers (35), third most draw controls (47) and seventh most assists (19). Evans has also scored at least four goals in nine straight games. Junior Jen Reininger, who has the third most goals for the Griffs (35), leads the NCAA with a .643 shot percentage. Junior Lauren Smolensky leads the MAAC in assists (34) and assists-per-game (2.27), while ranking eighth and 13th in those stats respectively in the NCAA. Sophomore Tessa Chad has eight consecutive multi-goal games and has at least two goals in 12-of-15 games played. Senior Ashley Bull leads the Griffs in draw controls and ranks third in the MAAC in draws-per-game with 5.00, while having the 27th most draws-per-game in the nation.

Fairfield is led offensively by Riley Hellstein, who has a team-high 43 goals and 58 points. Brenna Connoly leads the Stags with 20 assists to along with her 15 goals. Goalkeeper Caleigh O’ Connor has played and started in 14 games for the Stags, posting a 10-4 record (6-0 in MAAC) to go along with a league best 8.72 goals against average and a .479 save percentage. Fairfield has won eight consecutive games dating back to March 22, with their last loss coming on March 5 against Boston University, 10-9. The Stags have been a formidable opponent at home this season, holding a 5-1 record from Rafferty Stadium.

Evans is one of 11 players in the NCAA to lead her team in four of the six major stat categories. The junior midfielder has a team-high 57 goals, 76 points, 53 ground balls and 35 caused turnovers. The Peterborough, Ontario native is tied for the second most goals in the NCAA and has the sixth most points in the nation. She is also tied for the fifth most ground balls and eighth most caused turnovers in the NCAA. Evans shows no signs of slowing down offensively, scoring at least four goals in nine consecutive games.

With the 22-4 win over Quinnipiac last Saturday, the Griffs have now won eight consecutive games dating back to March 8. The Golden Griffins have outscored their opponents 157-56 over the winning streak, a goal differential just over 100. With a victory on Saturday, the Blue and Gold will match their largest win streak from a year ago, at nine. The Blue and Gold have also won 22 consecutive MAAC regular season contest dating back to the 2015 season, with their last loss coming against Fairfield, 10-9, on April 26, 2014.

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