CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Junior midfielder Erica Evans scored six goals and added four assists, while senior Ashley Bull scored three times to help lead the Canisius women's lacrosse team to a 13-10 win over Fairfield Sunday afternoon in the 2017 MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship game at the Demske Sports Complex. This marks the sixth time in the last seven years where the Golden Griffins have won the league's crown, and with the victory, the Griffs also earn the conference's berth into the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship, which will be held next weekend.
Canisius, which has now won 12-straight games, dating back to March 8, improved to 15-4 on the year. Fairfield, the No. 2 seed in this year's championship tournament, sees its season end with an overall mark of 12-6.
Evans, who broke her own school and conference record in goals in a season during the first half, helped Canisius jump out to an early 5-1 lead a little less than 12 minutes into the game when she found the back of the net twice in a span of 2:27. The Stags cut Canisius' cushion to 5-3 with a pair of goals by sophomore Lily Crager, but the Blue and Gold answered with goals by junior Lauren Smolensky and Evans to drive the score to 7-4. Canisius led 7-5 at the break thanks to a 14-11 advantage in shots and an 8-5 margin in draw controls in the game's opening stanza.
In the second half, Evans scored her 74th and 75th goals of the season on free-position goals to give the home team a 9-5 advantage with 17:59 left on the clock. A pair of Fairfield goals in the span of four minutes cut Canisius' lead to 9-7 before Bull scored her second of the day, an unassisted goal, with 12:01 left in regulation time. Fairfield kept fighting, and trailed 11-9 with 7:55 left on the clock, but the Griffs gave themselves some breathing room at the 5:21 mark of the second half on a goal by junior Jen Reininger, who scored off an assist by Evans. Canisius capped the scoring with 51 seconds left to play as Bull scored on a free-position shot to make the score 13-10.
Junior goalkeeper Rebecca VanLaeken earned the win between the pipes for the Blue and Gold, as she made seven saves. She is now 15-4 on the season. Senior Caleigh O'Connor made nine saves in the losing effort for Fairfield, which has now played in two of the last three MAAC women's lacrosse title games.
Six Canisius players scored in the win, led by Evans' six markers. Junior Allie Stewart and sophomore Tessa Chad also scored in the victory, while Stewart added an assist as well.
Sophomore Jourdan Roemer was credited with two assists for Canisius as well, as the Griffs posted double-digits on the scoreboard for the 16th time this season.
For her efforts, Evans was named the 2017 MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship MVP, the second-straight year she's won that award. Joining her on the MAAC All-Tournament Team from Canisius are Bull, Chad, Reininger and Roemer.
Head Coach Scott Teeter's Postgame Comments
“This was a really good women's lacrosse game today. Give Fairfield a lot of credit. They are well-coached and they didn't quit. They tried to force us to make some changes offensively and they were active on offense. I thought we did a good job staying composed and sticking to the game plan.”
“Erica Evans had a tremendous game. She is the first kid to credit her teammates and not want any of the accolades, but she took over for us when we needed her to."
"I thought we were really active defensively and we didn't let [Fairfield] get comfortable when they had the ball on offense. Rebecca [VanLaeken] made some great saves and our defense did a great job jumping in front of passes to get us moving up the field in transition.”
• The win, Canisius' 15th of the season, breaks the school record for wins in a year, that was held by the 2011 and 2013 teams.
• Canisius tied a school record with their 12th straight win, matched only by the 2015 Griffs.
• The six MAAC titles for Canisius are the most for any women's lacrosse team in the conference.
• Sunday marked the eighth time both Canisius and Fairfield appeared in the MAAC Women's Lacrosse title game.
• Evans has scored 11 goals in the last two MAAC Championship games. She had five markers in the team's win over Monmouth in 2016.
• In the victory, Evans also became the first player in Canisius and MAAC history to reach the 100 point plateau for a season.
• Evans' 10 points marked a season high for the midfielder, while her six goals tied a season high that was set against Niagara on April 26.
• The 2017 MAAC Midfielder of the Year now leads the NCAA in goals, with 76, passing USC's Michaela Michael with her second goal of the afternoon.
• Sophomore Tessa Chad recorded her 100th career point with her goal at 29:05 of the first.
• Bull tied the school record for most career starts, with 72, also held by former griffs Casey Depauw and Maria Kotas.
• Reininger has now scored in all 19 of her games since tranfering to Canisius this season.
• Evans had a game high three draw controls and four ground balls, while sophomore Kayla O'Connell led the team with three caused turnovers.
Canisius will learn who its plays in next weekend's NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship field on Sunday night, when the field is officially announced by the NCAA at 9 p.m. The selection show will be aired live on NCAA.com.