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Canisius WLAX advances to MAAC Championship Semifinals, beats Niagara 17-7

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Canisius women's lacrosse program scored early and often as it routed rival Niagara, 17-7 in the first round of the MAAC tournament on Saturday night at the Demske Sports Complex. With the win Golden Griffins improved to 10-8 overall and ended the Purple Eagles season, as Niagara finished 8-10 and 5-3 in conference.
 
Senior Jen Reininger posted a career-best six goals to lead all scorers in the game. The Blue and Gold had three other players record four points, as senior Allie Stewart tallied four goals, junior Jourdan Roemertallied a goal and three assists, while sophomore Bryar Cummings notched a pair of goals and assists.
 
Canisius started the game hot, scoring the first three makers within the first three minutes, as Reininger and Cummings combined for the tallies. Niagara answered back scoring goals at the 23:08 and 21:53 marks to cut the Canisius lead to one.
 
However the Blue and Gold took control and never looked back, scoring nine unanswered goals and holding the Purple Eagles scoreless for 27 minutes, before a Rachel MacCheyne goal at the 24:52 of the second half mark broke the run.
 
All-told Canisius outscored the Purple Eagles 8-5 in the final frame, but the first-half advantage was enough as the team cruised to the 17-7 victory.
 
The team received secondary scoring up and down its roster as well, as senior Lauren Smolensky finished with one goal and two assists, while freshman Miranda Malvaso posted a season-high two goals. Her sister Marissa Malvaso also recorded a point with an assist, meanwhile junior Kayla O'Connell recorded her first career-assist.
 
Also finding the scoresheet was sophomore Rachel Ryan who tallied her sixth goal against the Purple Eagles this week.
 
Offense was hard to come by for one of the better offensive squads in the league, as Niagara was led by MacCheyne who tallied two goals in the contest. Alexis Morales and Shea Swartwout also tallied markers.
 
The Griffs' stalwart, senior Rebecca VanLaeken provided key saves in big moments, racking up 12 in 56:51 minutes of action. Junior Ellen Newton also saw time in the net playing the final 3:09.
 
Niagara swapped goalies multiple times during the game as Olivia Shroeder made four saves and allowed 10 goals, as she was saddled with the loss, while Aubrey DeVeau recorded five saves and allowed seven goals.
 
COACH DALEY POSTGAME COMMENTS
"First of all I think this was a great team win and it was also really great to get this last home victory for our seniors. I couldn't be more proud of this team for the performance they put on the field tonight."
 
"Rebecca (VanLaeken) has been unbelievable this season, I couldn't be more proud of her. She has so much leadership and carries the momentum for our team. She's been amazing all year long and we wouldn't be where we are without her."
 
GAME NOTES
• Canisius is now 16-10 all-time against Niagara.
• The Griffs have now reeled off 16-straight against the Purple Eagles.
• It's the second time in as many seasons Canisius has ended Niagara's tournament bid.
• Reininger tallied a career-best six goals in the win.
• Reininger is now just two goals away from reaching 100 for her career. 
• O'Connell tallied her first career assist.
• VanLaeken recorded double-digit saves for the 13th time this season.
 
UP NEXT
Canisius advances to the semifinal round of the 2018 MAAC women's lacrosse tournament. The team will face the No. 1 seeded Marist Red Foxes on May 3, at 7 p.m.