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Leah Simmons’ 20 kills leads Canisius volleyball to victory at Manhattan

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Leah Simmons
MANHATTAN, N.Y. -- Looking to get back to its winning ways, the Canisius volleyball team came out and defeated Manhattan on Sunday, 3-1 (35-37, 25-16, 25-12, 25-14).
 
The Golden Griffins improved to 6-9 overall and 4-2 in MAAC play with the victory, while the host Jaspers fell to 0-16, 0-6 in conference action.
 
Leading the Blue and Gold offensively once again was junior Leah Simmons with 20 kills and a .474 hitting percentage. This was the second time this season Simmons has reached the 20-kill plateau.
 
In an opening set that just did not want to end, the Jaspers battled back early before Canisius had to do the same. Both teams traded chances late to close it out but Manhattan was the side to finally win the marathon, 37-35.
 
The second set started better for the Griffs, as they pulled off a 7-0 run after the Jaspers struck for the first point and followed it up with 6-0 run to make it 13-3. Back-to-back service aces by Simmons helped finish off Manhattan as the Blue and Gold cruised to a 25-16 victory.
 
An opening 6-1 streak for the Golden Griffins helped to establish a lead that was supplanted with a 10-0 stretch to make it 18-5. Canisius used these runs to cap off a win in the third set, 25-12. The fourth set continued the Griffs' roll as a late 7-1 run allowed the Blue and Gold to close out the set, 25-14, and seal the match.
 
Junior Cassidy Ceriani was the other focal point in the win, as the setter recorded another double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs in addition to four kills. Senior Sofia Lopez Acosta racked up 29 digs, the fourth-straight match for the libero with 20-or-more digs. The freshmen pair of Melina Woods and Camila Vazquez both registered 10 kills and three total blocks. Senior Sara Wesley also contributed with eight kills and four total blocks.
 
The Jaspers saw Vivian Donovan record 11 kills, while Alyssa Rehrer led Manhattan in both assists (30) and digs (22). Kenza Hall added on five total blocks.

Head Coach Lenika Vazquez's Postgame Comments:
"It was great to see Leah, Cassidy and Sofia lead the Griffs to a victory today. After the first set loss, the team rallied together for the comeback and didn't let up even when Manhattan made a run in the second and third sets."
 
Game Notes:
• Ceriani now has six matches this season with a double-double, including a triple-double in the first match versus Montana State. This is also Ceriani's sixth time with 40-or-more assists during the 2018 campaign.
• Sunday's contest between Canisius and Manhattan was the 45th time the two schools met in volleyball, with the Griffs now holding a 28-17 lead in the series.
• This is the Blue and Gold's third straight win over Manhattan and fourth victory in the last five meetings between the MAAC rivals.
• Manhattan comes to the Koessler Athletic Center on Oct. 27 to complete the season series against the Golden Griffins.
 
Up Next:
Canisius returns home next weekend, hosting a pair of matches at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs play reigning MAAC Champion Fairfield Oct. 6 and then face Quinnipiac Oct. 7. Both matches are set for 1 p.m. and the Sunday contest versus the Bobcats can be seen on ESPN3.