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Canisius volleyball splits pair of matches to open 2018 campaign


No alternative text provided.BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Canisius volleyball team kicked off its 2018 schedule at the CSU Invitational in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday. The Golden Griffins split a pair of matches, dropping the season opener to Montana State, 3-2 (27-25, 10-25, 22-25, 25-17, 13-15), before taking down Binghamton, 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 15-25, 26-24), for their first win of the campaign.
Match One Recap:
Despite winning the first set, the Griffs fell to Big Sky opponent Montana State, 3-2. Junior Cassidy Cerianiled the way for the Blue and Gold with a triple-double, as she was one of three Griffs to finish with a double-double or better.
In the first set, an early run by the Bobcats put the Griffs in a 3-0 hole, but the Griffs eventually staked claim to a 9-7 lead off a 6-1 scoring burst. This was en-route to a 27-25 set victory before Canisius lost the second set 25-10. The Blue and Gold regrouped for the third set, going through six lead changes with Montana State until the Bobcats could pull away to a 25-22 win. Using 5-0 run at the end of the fourth set, the Golden Griffins forced a fifth set that saw the Griffs get four straight points to take a 6-4 lead early on. Canisius could not hold off the Bobcats, though, and Montana State won the deciding set 15-13 to take the morning match.
Ceriani totaled team-highs in two categories with 25 assists and 19 digs. She and freshman Hannah Nelson both recorded 11 kills as well to share the team lead. Along with Ceriani and Nelson in the front court, fellow freshmanMelina Woods made an immediate impact with 10 kills, while 2018 All-MAAC Preseason Team selection Sara Wesley finished with eight kills. Freshman Camila Vazquez tallied seven total blocks to lead the Griffs and added nine kills.
Joining in on the freshman contributions, Ashley Kekeisen notched 21 assists and 13 digs in the losing effort for a double-double. Additionally, Nelson and Sofia Lopez Acosta both reach double digits in digs with 15 and 17, respectively, giving Nelson a double-double.
For Montana State, the victorious Bobcats were led by Natalie Passeck (21 kills), Carina Lehto (57 assists), and Allyssa Rizzo (29 digs).
Match Two Recap:
After breaking out for two quick wins in the first and second sets, the Golden Griffins rallied late in the fourth set to avoid a fifth and deciding set against the 2017 America East runner-up Binghamton. Carrying the Griffs were Ceriani, racking up 23 assists, and Lopez Acosta, who added 23 digs.
Canisius opened up the match by not letting the Bearcats take a lead, pulling out a 25-19 win. The second set went in a similar fashion, with the Griffs cruising to a 25-17 performance. Both of the first sets ended on Canisius service aces, first by Kekeisen, then by Ceriani. Binghamton made it a game in the third set by putting up a four-score run to break a 7-7 tie, eventually ruining any chance of a sweep with a 25-15 victory. With the Bearcats staring down a set point that would have forced a fifth set, the Golden Griffins dug in and went on a 4-0 run to win the set, 26-24, and wrap up their first win of the season.
Woods continued to make an early impact with 11 kills and five service aces, while Hannah Nelson added 12 digs to go with her six kills. Wesley continued her play from the first game with nine kills, contributing four total blocks as well. The strong effort from all the freshman continued, as Vazquez added eight kills and Kekeisen recorded 17 assists. Leah Simmons tacked on seven kills in the victory, while Gabrielle Darnaby tallied five digs.
For Binghamton, Gaby Alicea recorded 20 kills, Kiara Adams had 30 assists, and Samantha Gioiosa notched 23 digs.
Quote from Coach Vazquez:
"It felt good to get our first win of the season against a quality Binghamton squad. We did lose a tough five-set match to Montana State earlier in the day but the team showed well".
Up Next:
Canisius concludes the CSU Invitational on Saturday against tournament host Cleveland State. Match time is set for 1:30 p.m.

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