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Canisius women's lacrosse falls to Fairfield in MAAC Championship


Despite cutting Fairfield's lead to just two goals with 7:48 left in regulation time, the Stags scored two insurance goals in the game's final 6:40 to post a 14-10 win over the Canisius women's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon in the 2018 MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship game at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Golden Griffins see their season end with an overall record of 11-9. 
The Stags led by as many as four in the final frame, as Kelly Horning gave Fairfield a 12-7 lead with 15:00 showing on the clock. However, Canisius continued to fight, scoring the game's next three goals to make the score 12-10 in favor of the third-seeded Stags.
Senior Allie Stewart got Canisius' scoring run started with her 32nd goal of the year at the 11:30 mark of the second half, and the Blue and Gold made the score 12-9 1:05 seconds later when freshman Miranda Malvasoposted an unassisted goal. Canisius cut into Fairfield's cushion one more time at the 7:48 mark of the stanza when senior Lauren Smolensky found the back of the net, forcing a Fairfield timeout.
Out of the stoppage, the Stags scored twice, with Brenna Connolly making it a three-goal affair at the 6:40 mark. Her teammate Brooke Gallagher posted an insurance goal for Fairfield (13-6) at the 5:33 mark to seal the victory.
Smolensky led the Canisius attack with three goals, while senior Jen Reininger and sophomore Rachel Ryan each had a pair of markers in the losing effort.
Junior Jourdan Roemer added a goal and an assist, while Marissa Malvaso tallied an assist.
Connolly was the offensive leader for Fairfield, scoring three goals and adding three assists for six points. Gallagher also tallied a hat trick and posted an assist for four points in the victory for the Stags.
Senior Rebecca VanLaeken got the start in net for the Blue and Gold and made 11 saves, closing out her career with 567.  Paulina DiFatta made the start between the pipes for Fairfield and made nine saves for the victory.
Canisius edged the Stags in shots, 33-32, and controlled the draw circle, 15-11. The Griffs were plagued with turnovers, particularly in the first half, and finished the game with 13.
The Blue and Gold had three members named to the MAAC All-Tournament team as Smolensky, Ryan and VanLaeken were all honored for their postseason play.
"When evaluating this game, what we need to remember is the bigger picture. I'm really proud of everything we accomplished this season. I thought our team showed a lot of heart and fight to get to this point. Special thanks to our graduating seniors on everything they've accomplished in their time with our program. They are incredible young women. We'd also like to thank all the parents and fans for all their support this season. It's been an incredible ride."
• With the loss, Canisius dropped to 12-17 all-time against Fairfield, and is now 6-2 in MAAC Tournament action against the Stags.
• Fairfield ends the Griffs' season in the MAAC Championship for the second time in four years, having defeated the Blue and Gold in the MAAC title game in 2015 as well.
• Canisius is now 15-2 since 2011 in MAAC tournament games.
• This marked the eighth-straight year where the Griffs played in the conference's championship final.
• Both Reininger and Roemer extended their point streaks on Saturday, as Reininger pushed it to 40 games, while Roemer made it 48-straight.
• VanLaeken notched 10-or-more saves for 15th time this season.
Canisius ends the 2018 season with an 11-9 overall record and a 6-2 MAAC mark. The Blue and Gold concluded the year with two major postseason awards form the MAAC and four All-MAAC selections. Roemer and Reininger earned offensive player of the year and midfielder of the year, respectively. The duo also were selected to the conference first-team, while VanLaeken earned All-MAAC Second Team accolades and Malvaso earned MAAC All-Rookie team honors. 

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