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Canisius women's lacrosse to host Quinnipiac


BUFFALO -- Coming off of a 18-6 win over Marist on Wednesday afternoon, the Griffs (10-4) will host the Quinnipiac Bobcats (3-10) in their sixth conference contest of the year. The Blue and Gold are a perfect 5-0 in MAAC play this season and are riding a seven-game win streak into Saturday’s matchup. Canisius, who cliched a spot in this year’s MAAC Tournament with the win Wednesday, has won 21 consecutive MAAC regular season games dating back to the 2015 season.

The Griffs are 3-3 all-time against Quinnipiac, winning last year’s matchup against the Bobcats, 12-7, from Hamden, Conn. Canisius defeated the Bobcats 17-7 when the teams last played in Buffalo at the Demske Sports Complex  in 2015. In a 23-15 victory over Quinnipiac in 2014, former Griff Maria Kotas broke the Canisius single-game record for points, with 14, and tied the single-game record for goals with 8.

The Golden Griffins enter Saturday’s game with a 3-1 record from the Demske this season. • The Griffs are led offensively by junior Erica Evans, who reached the 50-goal mark in the 18-6 win over the Red Foxes Wednesday afternoon. Evans leads the Blue and Gold with 53 goals, ranking second in the NCAA. The two-time MAAC Midfielder of the Year is a multi-faceted weapon, leading the team in ground balls (47) and caused turnovers (31), while ranking second in draw controls (43). Junior transfer Jen Reininger has scored a goal in each of her 14 games with the Griffs, and has scored three-or-more goals in each of her last four games. Sophomore Tessa Chad, who ranks second on the team with 39 goals, has seven straight multi-goal games, and has three-or-more goals in four straight games. Sophomore Jourdan Roemer has become a top feeder for the Griffs, ranking second on the team with 24 assists, having recorded at least three assists in four of her last five games. Junior goalkeeper Rebecca VanLaeken has at least eight saves in eight of her 14 games started. The Griffs lead the MAAC in several statistical categories, scoring offense (15.07), points-per-game (21.86), scoring margin (5.14), shot percentage (.521), assists-per-game (6.79), save percentage (.502) and win percentage (.714).

Quinnipiac is 3-10 overall this season, while going 2-3 in MAAC play. The Bobcats have earned conference wins over Manhattan (12-11) and Iona (14-13, OT). Quinnipiac has struggled on the road this season, holding a 2-7 away record, but both conference wins came as the visiting team. Alex Hlesciak leads the Bobcats with 23 goals, while Allison Kuhn has a team-high 25 points (18g, 7a). Goalkeeper Kyle Larkin has been a bright spot for Quinnipiac, ranking second in the MAAC in save precentage (.490) and saves (146).

The Canisius women’s lacrosse team extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, and has now won 21 straight games in regular season conference action, defeating Marist 18-6 Wednesday afternoon from Poughkeepsie. Chad led the team with five goals, while Evans (4g, 1a) and Roemer (1g, 4a) also collected five points,  as the Griffs picked up their 10th win of the year, moving to 10-4 overall, and a perfect 5-0 in MAAC action. The Griffs used a 12-0 run during the second half to coast to the victory, leading by at least four goals for the final twenty minutes of the day. Evans moved into sole possession of second place on the Canisius career points list (204), passing former Griffs Carly Quinn in the victory.

Erica Evans has been selected as the NCAA Player of the Week, the Association announced Wednesday afternoon.• Evans was dominant in conference play last week, raking up 13 points (9g, 4a), 11 ground balls, 10 draw controls and five caused turnovers in wins over Siena and Monmouth. In a 25-11 win over Siena last Wednesday, Evans became the Canisius career goals leader, passing former Griffs Megan Oosting and Tori Quinn with her 155th career tally.

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 .521. Reininger has converted on an extraordinary amount of scoring chances this season, ranking first in the nation in shot percentage, scoring on 66 percent of her shots. Canisius ranks in the top-15 nationally in several offensive categories, 11th in scoring offense (15.07), 14th in scoring margin (5.14) and 15th in points-per-game (21.86).

Evans ranks among the nation’s best offensively, totaling the second most goals (53) and seventh most points (70) in the NCAA, while having the fourth highest goals-per-game (3.79) and eighth highest points-per-game (5.00) totals. Evans also ranks in the top-20 nationally in several categories, placing 15th in ground balls per game (3.36), 14th in shots on goal per game (5.50), 19th in shots-per-game (6.86) and 17th in caused turnovers per game (2.21). Chad has scored on 62.5 percent of her free position attempts, ranking 12th in the country. Junior Lauren Smolensky ranks 22nd in the country, and leads the team, with her 27 assists. VanLaeken has the 10th most saves in the NCAA (134), and is 15th in save percentage (.496) and 20th in saves-per-game (9.57) in the NCAA.

The Canisius women’s lacrosse team has had great success in MAAC play this season, winning its first five games, but it is not the only team that has seen conference dominance at Canisius. The Canisius men’s lacrosse team is also undefeated in MAAC action, at 3-0. Canisius is one of only three schools in the country to have both teams undefeated in conference play, Maryland and Robert Morris being the other two.

Evans was named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, after recording 13 total points in wins over Siena and Monmouth last week. The midfielder totaled a team-high nine goals and 13 points in two conference victories. Evans also added 11 ground balls, 10 draw controls and five caused turnovers over the two games. In a 25-11 win over Siena on Wednesday, Evans scored five goals and added two assists, breaking the Canisius career goals record, of 154, held by former Griffs Megan Oosting and Tori Quinn. In an 18-3 victory over Monmouth on Saturday, Evans became only the fifth player in program history to reach the 200-point mark, totaling six points on four goals.