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Iona stops Canisius volleyball’s longest ever home win streak

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Volleyball Starters Huddle
Game Recap

The visiting Iona Gaels ended Canisius' 10-match home win streak with a 3-0 sweep of the Golden Griffins in MAAC volleyball action Sunday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The Gaels won the match by scores of 25-16, 27-25, 25-22.
 
With the win, Iona, which has won two straight and 13 of its last 16, improved to 15-6 overall and 13-1 in MAAC play. Canisius moved to 13-11 overall and 11-4 in conference action.
 
Iona's Tess Connolly led all players with a match-high 14 kills, while Claire Archibald added 12 kills, 12 digs and two service aces. Mia Bonsignore chipped in 10 kills for the Gaels in the victory, while setter Emma Rose posted a match-high 42 assists to go along with seven digs. For the match, Iona hit .254 as a team, highlighted by a .345 attack percentage in the first set.
 
For the Griffs, junior Leah Simmons led the team with 10 kills and four service aces and freshman Camila Vazquez added seven kills, a solo block and two block assists as the Blue and Gold fell at home for the first time since Oct. 22, 2017. Junior setter Cassidy Ceriani recorded 25 assists, three digs and two kills in the losing effort, while senior libero Sofia Lopez Acosta posted 16 digs, two assists and a service ace.
 
After the Gaels took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-16 victory in the first set, Canisius trailed Iona 24-20 before Simmons extended the match with a kill. From there, Simmons ripped off back-to-back service aces to make the score 24-23 in favor of Iona. Out of an Iona timeout, a kill by Ceriani and another service ace by Simmons put the Blue and Gold ahead 25-24. But three straight kills by Connolly sealed the set victory for the visiting squad, as Iona stretched its margin to 2-0 on the power of the 27-25 victory.
 
In the third set, a kill by Vazquez put the Griffs up 20-19 before a pair of kills by Iona and an attack error by the Griffs made the score 22-20 in favor of the visiting Gaels. Canisius trailed 23-22 after a service error by Archibald, but kills by Connolly and Jamie Smith closed out the contest with Iona taking the 25-22 victory.
 
Head coach Lenika Vazquez's Postgame Comments
"Defensively, we need to pursue balls better. We need to be more consistent. We need to answer better when someone comes at us strong. We to put our shoulders back and go hard. There were moments of that, but moments don't make wins.
 
"We got another look at Iona and an opportunity as we move forward towards the MAAC Championship in Florida. They are the number one team right now and it's great to get another look. It gives us an opportunity to figure out how to defend better and to offensively show something different so that we can have a different result next time."

Game Notes

• Sunday was the 44th all-time meeting between the two schools in volleyball, with Iona leading the series 26-18.
• The win on Sunday gives Iona a regular-season sweep of Canisius after the Gaels defeated the Griffs 3-1 in New Rochelle, N.Y., back on Sept. 29.
• Canisius was swept at home for the first time since Sept. 30, 2017 when the team lost to Fairfield in the Koessler Athletic Center.
• The Griffs' 10-match home win streak was the longest in program history.
• Simmons has recorded double-digit kills in 10 of the team's 15 MAAC matches this season.
• The four aces are a new career-high for Simmons. Prior to Sunday's effort, she had never recorded more than two aces in a match.
• Lopez Acosta has recorded 15-or more digs in 21 of the team's 24 contests this season.
 
Up Next
Canisius will close out the home portion of its 2018 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Griffs play host to "Battle of the Bridge" rival Niagara in the Koessler Athletic Center on Senior Day. Match time is set for 1 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.