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Canisius women's lacrosse to host Niagara


BUFFALO -- After clinching its third consecutive MAAC Regular Season Championship in a 15-10 win over Fairfield Saturday, the Canisius women’s lacrosse team (12-4, 7-0 MAAC) will host third place Niagara (8-8, 5-2 MAAC) Wednesday evening at 7:30 from the Demske Sports Complex. The team will honor five seniors in a pregame ceremony, Ashley Bull, Sam Bianchi, Janae Guy, Ashley Heisler and Shannon Pelitera. The Griffs head into the game on a nine game winning streak and have won 23 straight regular season conference games.

The Golden Griffins have the all-time edge over Niagara 15-7, with the Blue and Gold winning 12 straight. The Griffs cruised to victory in last year’s matchup 13-2 at Niagara.

The Blue and Gold’s nine game win streak matches their season best from a year ago. With a Griffs win tomorrow evening the team will have the least amount of regular season losses in program history. Junior Erica Evans has been a force for the Golden Griffins this season, ranking second in the nation in goals (60) and third in points (83). Evans, who leads the MAAC in goals, points and ground balls has recorded at least seven points in in six of her last nine games. Junior Jen Reininger extended her goal streak to 16 games in the Griffs win Saturday. Junior Lauren Smolensky leads the MAAC, and ranks 11th nationally in assists, after recording three on Saturday. Four players have now reached the thirty-goal-mark for the season, Evans, sophomore Tessa Chad (44), Reininger (36) and sophomore Jourdan Roemer (31).

The Purple Eagles have won four of their last five games, with their last win coming against Quinnipiac on Saturday, 21-16. Rachel MacCheyne leads the team with 49 goals and 63 points. The sophomore ranks third in the NCAA with 5.94 shots-on-goal per game. Andrea Francisco has started all 16 games in net for Niagara, holding an 8-8 record with a .474 save percentage. Alexandra Higgins has been a force from the draw circle for the Purple Eagles, leading the MAAC, and ranking 10th in the nation, in draw controls per game (5.94).

The Canisius women’s lacrosse team moved to 7-0 in MAAC play, and clinched their third consecutive MAAC Regular Season Championship, in a 15-10 win over Fairfield Saturday afternoon from Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield, Conn. Both teams entered Saturday’s contest undefeated in conference action (both 6-0), and battled back and forth for the majority of the afternoon. The Griffs were tied 6-6 at the half and 10-10 with 15 minutes remaining, before ultimately going on a 5-0 run to once again hold the MAAC regular season crown. Evans led the Blue and Gold with seven points (3g, 4a), while Roemer had a game-high four goals in the winning effort. The Griffs will host the MAAC Championship semifinal and finals from the Demske Sports Complex May 5-7. The team has won five of the last six MAAC Championships.

The Golden Griffins have taken advantage of their scoring opportunities this season, scoring on over half of their shots, leading in the nation in shot percentage at .530. Reininger has converted on an extraordinary amount of scoring chances this season, ranking first in the nation in shot percentage, scoring on 67.9 percent of her shots. Canisius ranks in the top-10 nationally in several offensive categories, 6th in scoring offense (15.50), 8th in scoring margin (5.94) and 9th in points-per-game (22.81).

Aside from her eye-popping goal and point totals, the Tewaaraton Award finalist also ranks in the top-10 nationally in several categories, fifth in ground balls (57) and 10th in caused turnovers (37). Evans has three goals or more in 13-of-16 games played this year. She has also scored three goals or more in 11 consecutive games.