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NU volleyball tops Canisius in 4 sets


NIAGARA UNIV. -- The Niagara Purple Eagles defeated rival Canisius in four sets in the first Battle of the Bridge meeting on Thursday night.

Match Summary 
The first set started out competitive on both sides, with neither team leading by more than four points. The Purple Eagles went on a 4-0 run to break a 16-16 tie, but the Golden Griffins fought back, going on a 6-1 run of their own to lead the set, 22-21. The Purple Eagles took care of business however, winning the final four points of the set to hold the lead after one.
Canisius bounced back in the second set to tie the match at 1-1. The Golden Griffins held a sturdy lead over the course of the set, eventually winning the set by seven points.
In the third set, the Purple Eagles took the lead early, leading by as many as four before Canisius came back to tie the score, 17-17. In a set featuring 15 ties and nine lead changes, the set went into extras. With the score tied at 26-26, Niagara struck with back-to back points to close out the set for a 2-1 advantage.
The fourth set found Niagara in the hole early, trailing by 9-5. The Purple Eagles continued to chip away at the deficit and with the score knotted at 21-21, the Purple Eagles finished strong, winning four of the last five points capped by a thunderous block by Grace Hetterscheidt and Nicole Matheis.

Eagle's Eye On…

  • Three Purple Eagles were in double-digit kills - Grace HetterscheidtNicole Matheis and Caroline Leitch.
  • Hetterscheidt had 10 kills on a match-best .304 hitting percentage on her way to a career-high team-leading 13 points and four block assists.
  • Matheis finished with 10 kills in addition to 13 digs for her team-leading eighth double-double.
  • Leitch had 10 kills for second most tally of the season.
  • Rylee Hunt led the match with her second consecutive 32 digs match.
  • Alexis Gray recorded her second consecutive double-double, finishing with 15 assists and 13 digs.
  • Rachel Hall tied a team-high in assists with 15, giving her four consecutive matches with double-digit assists.

Inside The Numbers

  • The Purple Eagles' 7-2 start in MAAC play marks their best start in the MAAC through nine games since 2011.
  • NU is 16-3 against Canisius since 2009.
  • The Purple Eagles have now won eight of their last nine in the Gallagher Center against the Golden Griffins.
  • Niagara has won 13 of its last 14 sets at home against Canisius dating back to the 2014 season.
  • NU has started the season 4-1 in the Gallagher Center, coming off a 5-0 start to the season at home in 2016.
  • The victory gives Niagara's its first point in the Battle of the Bridge contest through three events. 

Coach's Corner

  • "That was everything a rivalry match should be; some great plays, huge momentum swings both ways, and intensity like no other game. I thought our setting was a big key in the victory and I was very pleased with the number of kills that Grace (Hetterscheidt) had in the middle." – head coach Vilis Ozols.

Up Next

  • Niagara will host an exhibition matchup against Brock on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. before battling Rider and Saint Peter's at home on Oct.21-22.