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Canisius' Evans, Teeter highlight women's lacrosse awards


Nine Canisius women's lacrosse players earned All-MAAC honors, highlighted by junior Erica Evans, who was named the 2017 MAAC Midfielder of the Year, the conference office announced Thursday night at its annual Women's Lacrosse Championship banquet, held on the campus of Canisius College.

In addition to the awards won by the student-athletes, Canisius head coach Scott Teeter was named the 2017 BNS Sports MAAC Coach of the Year. Teeter was voted the league's coach of the year for the third-straight season after his Golden Griffins posted an overall record of 13-4 to go with a perfect 8-0 mark in MAAC play. The 8-0 conference record helped lead Canisius to its third-straight MAAC regular-season crown. This is the fourth time Teeter has been named the MAAC's Coach of the Year.

Evans, a unanimous choice to the All-MAAC First-Team, finished the regular-season by matching her own MAAC record with 91 points on the power of 66 goals and 25 assists. The Peterborough, Ontario native is currently tied for third in the country with her 66 goals this season, and earlier this season, became the school's career leader in goals scored when Canisius beat Siena on April 5. She is second in the nation in goals per game (3.88) and she's tied for third in total points. She leads the MAAC in ground balls (60) and ranks second in the league in caused turnovers with 39.

Evans is joined on the All-MAAC First-Team by teammates Tessa Chad and Brenna Shanahan. Chad, the 2016 MAAC Rookie of the Year, scored 47 goals and added seven assists in her sophomore campaign for 54 points, which ranks third on the roster. The team's leader in free-position goals with 12, the Orono, Ontario native played in and started all 17 games for the Blue and Gold and has been credited with 12 draw controls and 10 ground balls to date. Shanahan, a member of the 2016 MAAC All-Rookie Team, has 29 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers to her credit in her sophomore campaign. The defender from Mississauga, Ontario native also has six goals and an assist this season, highlighted by her first career hat trick in a home win over Quinnipiac April 15.

Five Griffs were named to the All-MAAC Second Team unit, including sophomore Jourdan Roemer and junior Lauren Smolensky. Roemer ranks second on the team with her 67 points thanks to 36 goals and 26 assists. The Irondequoit, New York native scored a season-high five goals in the Griffs' home win over Niagara April 26, and she also dished out a career best five assists in the home win over Siena April 5. Smolensky ranks fourth on the team with her 52 points thanks to 13 goals and 39 assists. The Rochester, N.Y., native, who was a MAAC All-Rookie honoree in 2015, had school-record nine assists in the team's win at Binghamton Feb. 28, which is the second-most assists in a game by any Division I player in the country this season.

Senior Ashley Bull and junior Jen Reininger were chosen to the All-MAAC Second-Team midfield unit by the league's coaches. Bull, the school's career leader in ground balls, has 75 this season to lead the Blue and Gold, and she's also been credited with 24 ground balls and 20 caused turnover. Reininger ranks fifth on the roster with her 47 points after she posted 38 goals and nine assists in her first season with the program after transferring from Syracuse. The Irondequoit, N.Y., native tallied a career-high six points in the squad's home win over Siena April 5, and she enters the postseason as the nation's leader in shot percentage, connecting on 65.5 percent of her shots on goal.

Junior Rebecca VanLaeken was named the goalkeeper on the All-MAAC Second Team after she posted a league-high 13 wins in between the pipes to go with a 10.13 goals against average, which ranks second-best in the conference. She has collected 47 ground balls this season to go with five caused turnovers, and in eight MAAC games, she leads the league with her 7.19 goals against average. Freshman Rachel Ryan was the team's lone representative on the MAAC All-Rookie Team. In 15 games this season, the Hilton, New York native scored a goal and posted an assist, while collecting 14 draw controls and seven ground balls. She scored her first career goal against Duquesne March 8.

Additionally, eight Griffs were named to the 2017 MAAC All-Academic Team on Thursday night. Bull, Evans, Reininger, Roemer, Shanahan and VanLaeken were joined on the conference's top academic all-star team by seniors Ashley Heisler and Janae Guy.

Canisius will look to defend its MAAC championship title starting Friday, May 5, when it plays host to local-rival Niagara in the MAAC Championship semifinal round game at the Demske Sports Complex. Game time is set for 8 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. The winner of Friday's semifinal game will meet either No. 2 seed Fairfield or No. 3 seed Marist in the MAAC Championship game, set for Sunday, May 7 at noon. The entire 2017 MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship game will be played at the Demkse Sports Complex.