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Canisius volleyball drops two matches to Akron and Maryland

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

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AKRON, O.H. -- The Canisius volleyball team started the Akron Invitational on Saturday by dropping a three-set match to tournament host Akron, 3-0 (23-25, 21-25, 21-25), before falling to Maryland, 3-0 (12-25, 16-25, 23-25).
 
Match One Recap:
 
Despite an effort that saw senior Sara Wesley record 11 kills, the Blue and Gold were swept by Akron. In the loss, four Golden Griffins tallied over five kills, while two Griffs notched at least 15 assists.
 
Despite using a 5-0 scoring run to take a 14-10 lead, the Griffs were unable to hold off the Zips in the opening set, falling into an early hole with the 25-23 loss. In the second set, the Golden Griffins could not do enough to catch up after Akron went on a pair of 5-0 runs on its way to a 25-21 victory. Down 2-0 in the match, the Griffs were not able to force a fourth set, seeing Akron take another 25-21 win to close out the match.
 
In addition to her 11 kills, Wesley added five total blocks, while freshman Camila Vazquez chipped in with two total blocks. Junior Cassidy Ceriani led the squad with her 16 assists and two service aces, adding on six kills of her own. Freshman Melina Woods continued to make an immediate impact, tallying eight kills and six digs. JuniorLeah Simmons also continued to make an early-season impact, registering nine kills to go with six digs. Ashley Kekeisen finished one shy of Ceriani by compiling 15 assists, while Sofia Lopez Acosta handled the largest amount of the team's 50 digs with 23.
 
The Zips were powered by 13 kills from Alexis Adleta, while Emily Weigand led Akron with 17 assists. Taylor Sharrits finished with the team lead in service aces (four) and digs (12).
 
Match Two Recap:
 
Looking to recover after the earlier loss to Akron, the Golden Griffins could not gain a footing against Maryland until the third set, losing the match 3-0. In spite of the sweep, Wesley again paced Canisius, this time tallying seven kills, as six Griffs registered multiple kills.
 
The Terrapins used a couple of runs, including a 7-0 run to close it out, to win the opening set, 25-12. The Blue and Gold responded by battling back from a 4-0 hole to start the second set, but fell 25-16 after Maryland was able to muster two more 4-0 runs. The Griffs again found themselves down early in the third set, but were able to claw their way back, tying the set at 20-20 before Maryland coaxed out the 25-23 win to sweep the match.
 
Besides Wesley's seven kills, Woods and Vazquez both recorded six kills, while Simmons posted five kills. Ceriani added a team-high 20 assists and nine digs to her five kills, also leading the team with a pair of service aces. Lopez Acosta registered a game-high 16 digs, while Gabrielle Darnaby racked up a trio of kills.
 
Erika Pritchard was a force for Maryland with 19 kills, while Nicole Alford helped Pritchard and the other Terps with 36 assists. The Terrapins were led in digs by Allegra Rivas (14).
 
Quote from Coach Vazquez:
 
"The team continues to show well. The Griffs were stat leaders in several categories against Akron. Akron served really tough and pulled out the win. Sofia (Lopez Acosta) had 23 digs and really has been performing at a high level this weekend with 23 and 16 digs, respectively. We have an opportunity tomorrow to make some changes that will help us win."
 
Game Notes:
 
• Ceriani now sits at 1789 career assists, needing 82 more assists to tie Sydney Palka for ninth in program history.
• This is the second straight match that Canisius was swept by Akron, the first sweep coming on Sept. 9, 2016 at the Akron Invitational.
• Saturday marked the first-ever match between Canisius and Maryland.
 
Up Next:
 
Canisius concludes the Akron Invitational on Sunday against 2017 America East champion Stony Brook. Match time is set for noon.