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Canisius volleyball wins fourth straight; earns third sweep in a row

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Melina Woods
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canisius freshman Melina Woods pounded down a career-high 15 kills on 29 attempts and senior Sara Wesley added eight kills at a .583 hitting percentage, a solo block and three block assists to help lead the Golden Griffins to a 3-0 sweep at Rider Saturday afternoon in MAAC volleyball action.
 
Canisius, which is on its first four-match winning streak since 2013, won the match in straight sets of 25-17, 25-8, and 25-16.
 
Canisius, which has now won seven of its last eight, improved to .500 overall (9-9) and 7-2 in MAAC action with the victory, while the Bobcats fell to 8-9 overall and 4-5 in league play.
 
Woods' 15 kills were only one facet of her performance, as the Ada, Ohio native also registered eight digs, a service ace, a solo block and three block assists in the win. Fellow freshman Camila Vazquez chipped in eight kills at a .667 hitting percentage, also recording one solo block and two block assists. Junior setter Cassidy Ceriani was the catalyst for the Griffs' offense with a match-high 37 assists, adding on four kills, three digs and a single block assist. The Blue and Gold's defensive leader, senior Sofia Lopez Acosta finished the match with 16 digs, three assists, a trio of service aces and one kill. Juniors Leah Simmons and Gabrielle Darnaby both tallied five kills, while fellow junior Carly Shifflet racked up eight digs, three assists and a service ace.
 
The Griffs got out front early in the opening set, using a 6-0 run to make it 7-2. The Griffs never surrendered the lead, finishing off the Broncs in the first set, 25-17, on the back of four kills from Woods. In the second set, the Blue and Gold continued to pressure Rider from the start with an 8-1 run. Woods added six more kills in the second frame and the Griffs combined for a .522 hitting percentage for the set. Canisius went on a closing 9-1 stretch to put away Rider, 25-8.
 
Rider pushed back to start the third set, jumping out to a 7-4 lead before a 4-0 run swung the lead in favor of Canisius. The Griffs would never trail again in the match, eventually pulling away to a 25-16 victory to seal the sweep.
 
For Rider, Savannah Logan had a team-high six kills in the losing effort, while setter Anilee Sher posted 21 assists and 10 digs for the Broncs.
 
Head Coach Lenika Vazquez's Postgame Comments

"We have the same hunger as we did when we were 0-0 in the MAAC this season. We were defensively sound today and took care of the ball offensively. It feels good to have depth in our offense. It gives our setters the opportunity to move the ball around."
 
Game Notes
• Saturday's meeting was the 37th between Canisius and Rider. The Griffs now hold a 27-10 advantage all-time in the series.
• The last season where Canisius took both regular-season matches from Rider was 2013.
• It is the 13th straight-sets win for Canisius over Rider in the series history.
• The last time the Griffs swept an opponent in both regular season meetings was Saint Peter's in 2017.
• The Griffs have won their last three contests by the score of 3-0. That last occurred Sept. 22-29, 2012.
• Ceriani has recorded 30-or-more assists in seven-straight matches.
• Woods now has seven matches with double-digit kills and ten matches with multiple block assists.
• Lopez Acosta has recorded 15-or-more digs in all but two contests this season.
• Wesley has now hit at over a .300 clip for seven-straight matches, recording 60 kills in that span.
• Since the start of MAAC play, Vazquez has recorded six-or-more kills and three-or-more total blocks in every conference match.

Up Next
Canisius caps off its trip to New Jersey with a 1 p.m. match tomorrow, Oct. 14, at Saint Peter's. Canisius will then close out the road stretch at long-time rival Niagara on Wednesday, Oct. 18.