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NU women's lacrosse squares off against crosstown rival Canisius


The Niagara Purple Eagles women's lacrosse team takes on the Canisius Golden Griffins Wednesday night in the annual Battle of the Bridge matchup. Both teams have secured postseason berths to the MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship and will battle it out for a rivalry win in the regular-season finale. Opening draw is set for 7:30 p.m. from the Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo.

With Sunday's 21-16 win at Quinnipiac, Niagara clinched home field advantage for the first round of the 2017 MAAC Championship. Depending on the results of the final MAAC regular-season games Wednesday, the Purple Eagles will host either Monmouth or Quinnipiac at Niagara Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

In its 11th season, the Battle of the Bridge is the annual all-sports competition between the Niagara Purple Eagles and Canisius Golden Griffins. Canisius currently holds a lead of 21-7 in this year's Battle of the Bridge, with two points on the line in Wednesday's women's lacrosse matchup. Niagara picked up four points with a season sweep in men's basketball, defeating the Golden Griffins 91-84 at home on Jan. 23 and 94-81 at Canisius on Feb. 10. The Purple Eagles' volleyball team picked up two points and did not drop a single set to Canisius in two matches, winning 3-0 at Canisius on Oct. 13, 2016 and 3-0 at Niagara on Nov. 2, 2016. The Niagara men's soccer team also scored one point for the Battle of the Bridge in a 0-0 draw versus Canisius in its regular-season finale on Nov. 2, 2016.

The Purple Eagles can finish either third or fourth in the MAAC standings depending on Wednesday's results across the conference, meaning the team is guaranteed a home game on Saturday in the first round of the MAAC Championship. Niagara can enter the MAAC Championship seeded third for the second time in program history and the first since 2003. Niagara earned its best MAAC finish in 2001 with a 4-2 conference record (8-10 overall). If Niagara loses to Canisius, Marist defeats Siena, and Iona defeats Monmouth, Niagara ends the regular season tied for third with Marist. Based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, Niagara would be seeded fourth for a second-straight season and would host the Monmouth Hawks in the first round. In all other scenarios, Niagara would be seeded in third place in the MAAC standings and would host the sixth-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats in the first round.