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Canisius volleyball opens Michigan trip with victory over Milwaukee

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

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KALAMAZOO, M.I. -- The Canisius volleyball team opened the Delta Hotel by Marriott Kalamazoo Conference Center Tournament with a rousing victory over Milwaukee, 3-1 (25-21, 25-27, 25-23, 25-20), to give the Golden Griffins its second win of the young season.
 
The match was also significant for Cassidy Ceriani, as the junior's 39 assists Friday moved her to 1875 in her career, passing former Griff Syndey Palka for ninth in program history.
 
The Golden Griffins started the match with an evenly-played first set that saw the Griffs fight back from a 15-10 hole to tie the game at 20-20 before using a 4-0 streak to close out a win in the opening set, 25-21.
 
In the second set, the Griffs saw themselves battle back from down six to tie the game at 24-24 before Milwaukee recovered to win the set, 27-25. The third set opened up poorly for the Blue and Gold when the Panthers took a 6-1 lead off a 5-0 run, but Canisius was able to claw back and win, 25-23. In the final set, the Griffs were the team to get off to a hot start, opening on a 4-0 spurt that eventually saw them hold off Milwaukee for a 25-20 win that sealed the match.
 
Senior Sara Wesley was once again a force for the Golden Griffins, putting up a game-high 13 kills and tallying four total blocks. Sofia Lopez Acosta continued to provide a stable presence at the libero spot, racking up 24 digs to go along with three kills and two assists. Camila Vazquez and Melina Woods again showed that they are impact freshmen, with Vazquez notching a team-best eight total blocks and 12 kills, while Woods helped in all facets of the game with four kills, a pair of service aces, eight digs and three total blocks. Ceriani chipped in four kills and nine digs to go with her assists, while Leah Simmons and Gabrielle Darnaby registered nine kills and six kills, respectively.
 
Milwaukee was led by Makenzie Mroczenski and Kleja Cerniauskaite, with both recording 11 kills apiece. Jenn Dore added 31 assists and Lauren Spaulding was the leader of the three Panthers to reach double-digits in digs with 14.
 
The win puts Canisius at 2-5 entering their doubleheader on Saturday. Milwaukee falls to 0-9 following their two losses on Friday to Western Michigan and Canisius.
 
Game Notes:
 
• Ceriani moved into ninth in program history with an assist on a Simmon's kill in the fourth set that extended the Griffs' lead to 17-13.
• Ceriani now sits at 1875 career assists, needing 112 more assists to tie Britanny Gerde for eighth in program history.
• This was the first meeting between Canisius and Milwaukee in program history.
• This was the first of three matches this weekend where the Griffs will play their opponent for the first time in program history.
 
Quote from Coach Vazquez:
 
"The girls made the decision to win. Settling for anything less wasn't an option today and they were vocal about it. This win couldn't have been possible without the team's solid defense today. Camila blocking eight balls and Sofia digging 24 went a long way."
 
Up Next:
 
Canisius closes out its trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., for the Delta Hotel by Marriott Kalamazoo Conference Center Tournament with two matches Saturday. The Griffs play tournament host Western Michigan at 10 a.m. before closing their non-conference schedule against Loyola Chicago in a 4:30 p.m. tilt.