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Canisius volleyball wins third-straight with sweep of Rider

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Cassidy Ceriani
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Earning a perfect home-opening weekend, the Canisius volleyball team swept Rider on Sunday, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 30-28). The Golden Griffins, winners of three-straight, improve to 5-8 overall and 3-1 in MAAC play with the win, while the Broncs fell to 6-5, 2-2 in conference action.
 
The 3-1 start in conference play for Canisius is the team's best since 2015, and this marks the first time the Griffs have opened their home schedule 2-0 since 2012.
 
Junior Leah Simmons continued to be the center of the Golden Griffins' offensive attack, tallying 11 kills to go with three digs and one total block.
 
With a .438 kill percentage, the Blue and Gold used an early 6-0 run to take the opening set, 25-17. In total, the Griffs notched 14 kills as team to start the match.

The second set saw the Griffs continue their roll, as freshman Melina Woods had back-to-back service aces in Canisius' 25-17 victory. Rider attempted to force a fourth set and held a 23-20 lead before Canisius ripped off four straight points to take a 24-23 advantage. A Canisius attack error allowed the Broncs to tie the score at 24-24, but the visiting squad could not take advantage down the stretch. With the set tied 28-28, Rider was charged with a bad set and Woods then put down her ninth kill of the contest to seal the victory at 30-28 in favor of the Blue and Gold.
 
Woods finished with the nine kills and two service aces to go with two assists and six digs, while fellow freshman Camila Vazquez registered seven kills and a team-high four total blocks. Setter Cassidy Ceriani recorded 32 assists, her 11th match of the season with 20+. The junior also added two kills and four digs to the winning effort. Hitting at a .364 clip, senior Sara Wesley buried six kills of her own, while fellow senior Sofia Lopez Acosta registered her seventh match with 20-or-more digs, recording 22 digs Sunday.
 
Offensively for the Broncs, Savannah Logan led with 11 kills and Anilee Sher tallied 25 assists. On the defensive side, Sher and Rachelle Runyon both notched 11 digs.
 
Head Coach Lenika Vazquez's Postgame Comments:
"Team-wise, it feels amazing. It is our goal every day to work together and figure out a way to support each other on or off the court. That includes us as a staff 'how can we support you to do your best', and I feel like today was a good example for the girls to see exactly how we all work together."
 
Game Notes:
• Ceriani now sits at 2,097 career assists, passing Kelly Sieber for sixth in program history.
• Simmons has now led the Griffs in kills for three-straight matches.
• Sunday's meeting between Canisius and Rider was the 36th time the two schools met in volleyball, with the Griffs now holding a 26-10 lead in the series.
• This is the first victory for Canisius over Rider since Nov. 14, 2015, when the Blue and Gold beat the Broncs at home, 3-1.
• The last time the Griffs swept Rider was Oct. 26, 2013 at home. The Griffs have now swept Rider a dozen times in the all-time series.
• Canisius heads to Lawrenceville, N.J., on Oct. 13 to complete the season series against Rider.
 
Up Next:
Canisius goes back on the road to take on MAAC rivals Iona and Manhattan next weekend. The Griffs take on the Gaels Sept. 29 in a 1 p.m. match that can be seen on ESPN3. The Blue and Gold then travel to take on the Jaspers Sept. 30 in a 1 p.m. contest.