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Canisius volleyball drops CSU Invitational match to Cleveland State

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Canisius volleyball team finished off its opening weekend with a 3-0 (13-25, 13-25, 25-21) loss to CSU Invitational host Cleveland State Saturday. Despite the loss, junior Leah Simmons broke out to lead the Golden Griffins with eight kills, while freshman Melina Woodscontinued a smooth transition into her collegiate career by matching Simmons with eight kills of her own.
 
The Vikings (3-0) opened the match with a 4-0 run and took advantage of a 7-0 spurt to close out the opening frame and take a 25-13 win over the Golden Griffins (1-2). The Blue and Gold came into the second set stronger, keeping the set close until the Vikings pulled off another 4-0 run that eventually earned the home team another 25-13 victory.

Staring down a sweep, Canisius took a 7-4 advantage early in the third set after a 4-0 scoring run of their own. But Cleveland State, the three-time defending Horizon League champion, chipped away at the Griffs' lead to get back in front, 15-14. The squads continued to trade points until the Vikings pulled out a 25-21 win in the third set, completing the sweep.
 
Simmons and Woods were helped by senior Sara Wesley and her four kills. Junior Cassidy Ceriani added five kills to go along with her 16 assists and nine digs. Senior Sofia Lopez Acosta led the team with 12 digs while playing libero, chipping in a pair of assists. Junior Gabrielle Darnaby notched six digs of her own and recorded both of Canisius' service aces, while freshman Ashley Kekeisen again provided a fresh face with 11 assists and eight digs.
 
For the Vikings, Trinniti Hall led the way with 12 kills, Christina Grecol finished with 32 assists, and Rachael Dohar tallied dug 15 balls.
 
Ceriani was named as the Canisius representative to the CSU Invitational All-Tournament Team, finishing the weekend with 20 kills, 36 digs, and a team-leading 64 assists. The junior continues to sit tenth in program history, now at 1,753 career assists.
 
Head Coach Lenika Vazquez's Postgame Comments
"I feel like the team showed heart and grit this weekend. Going up against a team that finished in the top 75 last season and pushed our backs against the wall in the first two sets, we were able to take the lead a few times in a back-and-forth stretch late in the third set. We learned a lot and gained valuable experience heading into the rest of the season."
 
Up Next:
Canisius travels back to Ohio next weekend to play in the Akron Invitational. The Griffs open the tournament Saturday against host Akron at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 4:30 p.m. match versus Maryland. The Blue and Gold finish out the tournament on Sunday when they take on Stony Brook at noon.