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Ceriani and Simmons star in Canisius volleyball’s win at Siena

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Cassidy Ceriani
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- A historic day from Cassidy Ceriani helped the Canisius volleyball team defeat Siena for its first win in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, 3-1 (25-7, 25-7, 23-25, 25-21).
 
The match saw Ceriani register a double-double on the way to notching her 2,000th career assist and moving into eighth all-time. The junior finished the milestone-achieving day with 45 assists and 12 digs.
 
Canisius got going early and went on a roll for two straight sets. The Golden Griffins used an opening 4-0 stretch and a closing 11-1 stretch to run away with the first set of the day, beating Siena, 25-7.
 
The second set saw the Griffs once again open on a long run, going 11-0 to start the set. That and a closing 6-1 streak let the Griffs handily gain another 25-7 win over the Saints. The third set saw another 4-0 opening run for the Blue and Gold, but Siena was finally able to counter a Griffs' run, putting in their own 5-0 streak. The set saw the Saints able to force a fourth frame, narrowly beating Canisius, 25-23. In the fourth set, Siena continued to keep pace with the Griffs, but Canisius finally finished off the Saints, 25-21, to earn their first victory of the 2018 MAAC season.
 
The combination of Ceriani and fellow junior Leah Simmons was the driving force for the Golden Griffins all match, as Simmons finished at a .474 hitting percentage. Ceriani set up many of Simmons' career-high 21 kills, while both players, along with Sofia Lopez Acosta, recorded two service aces apiece. The defensive stalwart Lopez Acosta also tallied a team-high 18 digs, chipping in a kill and an assist. Carly Shifflet also contributed on both sides of the ball, registering four digs and three kills to go with a service ace.
 
The freshman sensations of Camila Vazquez and Melina Woods provided the second wave of support once again. Both rookies got up for four total blocks apiece, while Vazquez's 10 kills slightly edged out Woods' nine. Fellow freshman Ashley Kekeisen also stood out with a dozen digs, while senior Sara Wesley was a steady presence with six kills.
 
Offensively, Siena was powered by Nicole Deobler's 11 kills and 26 assists from Jessica Eblin. Defensively, JoJo Ishida had 18 digs to go with Brooke Rogers' three total blocks.
 
The win puts Canisius at 3-8, moving them to 1-1 in the MAAC. The loss drops Siena to 0-2 in the conference and 1-11 overall.
 
Game Notes:
 
• Canisius finished with a .317 team hitting percentage to Siena's .098, as Canisius had the edge in kills, assists, aces, digs and total blocks.
• Ceriani now sits at 2,021 career assists, passing Britanny Gerde for eighth all-time and needing 35 more assists to tie Mary Beth Sands for seventh in program history.
• The junior setter is the eighth player in program history to reach the 2,000-assist milestone, and the third to do it in the past decade.
• The last Griff to reach 2,000 career assists was Grace Streicher in 2015, finishing her career with 2,694.
• This was the 48th meeting between Canisius and Marist, and the Griffs' win moves the record to 33-15 all-time in favor of the Saints.
• It was the first win for Canisius at Siena since Sept. 21, 2014.
• Siena comes to the Koessler Athletic Center on Oct. 20 to complete the season series.
 
Quote from Coach Vazquez:
 
"Leah 'casually went off' as the girls say. It was great to see her perform at that level. She transitioned well and made herself available."
 
"Cassidy worked very hard today to mix things up and move the ball around during pivotal moments. Siena came out in the third set with a different approach. They were very aggressive but the Griffs responded well and didn't let up. It was a team effort by the Griffs and very nice to be part of."
 
Up Next:
 
Canisius returns home for their home opener Sept. 22, taking on Saint Peter's at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs then host Rider Sept. 23 in a match that can be seen on EPSN3. Both matches are set for 1 p.