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Canisius volleyball hosts rival Niagara on Senior Day

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Donnett Hickson and Sofia Lopez Acosta
Canisius (13-11, 11-4 MAAC) at Niagara (9-15, 9-6 MAAC)
Date:
 Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Koessler Athletic Center – Buffalo, N.Y.
Live Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: SIDEARM Stats


Twitter: @GriffVolleyball l #Griffs |#MAACVB
 
Closing out the home portion of its 2018 campaign, the Canisius volleyball team prepares for long-time rival Niagara in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action Saturday. The contest will mark the 101st meeting in the Battle of the Bridge and will also serve as Senior Day for Sara WesleyDonnett Hickson and Sofia Lopez Acosta.
 
Last Time Out
• The Golden Griffins split a pair of contests last weekend to maintain a hold on second place in the MAAC standings.
• The Griffs took down Manhattan Oct. 27 in straight sets to sweep the season series with a Jaspers, before falling to first-place Iona Oct. 28, 3-0, in Canisius' first home loss since Oct. 22, 2017.
• Three members of the Blue and Gold totaled 15 kills apiece over the weekend, as junior Leah Simmons and freshmen Camila Vazquez and Melina Woods were the highlights of the Griffs' offense.
 
Scouting Canisius
• Simmons has been leading the Griffs on offense all year with her 266 kills. Following Simmons are Vazquez and senior Sara Wesley, with 214 and 203 kills, respectively. Vazquez also has a team-high 73 blocks.
• Woods has registered 199 kills to go with 93 digs and 25 service aces.
• Junior Cassidy Ceriani has been the Griffs' most versatile player, notching 805 assists with 98 kills and 212 digs. Sunday saw the setter's streak of 13 consecutive matches with 30-or-more assists end.
• Senior Sofia Lopez Acosta leads the team with 457 digs and 30 service aces from the libero spot.
 
Griffs Among Conference Leaders
• Canisius is still atop the conference leaders in hitting percentage (.244).
• The Griffs rank second in the MAAC in kills per set (13.33), assists per set (12.06), service aces per set (1.62) and opponent blocks per set (1.47).
• Lopez Acosta paces the MAAC with 5.31 digs per set, which ranks her 26th among Division I leaders.
• Vazquez's .354 hitting percentage ranks first among all qualified players.
• The Blue and Gold's 1.62 aces per set puts them 24th nationally.
 
A Season for the Record Books
• Before Sunday's loss to Iona, the Griffs' 7-0 run to open up their home schedule is the best start ever to a season.
• The 10-match winning streak at home from Oct. 22, 2017 to Oct. 27, 2018 is also the longest in program history.
• This only the fifth time in program history that a Canisius team has reached 11 victories in MAAC play.
• For individual accomplishments, Ceriani reached 2,000 career assists on Sept. 16 and currently sits fifth in program history at 2,494.
 
Farewell Tour
• Saturday will mark the last time Wesley, Hickson and Lopez Acosta will play in the Koessler Athletic Center.
• Hickson, a local product, has been a solid contributor since 2015, totaling 349 digs through over 61 matches.
• Wesley went from an outside hitter back to her natural middle hitter role under coach Lenika Vazquez, landing Wesley on the 2017 All-MAAC Second Team and a selection to the 2018 All-MAAC Preseason Team.
• In only two seasons on Main Street, Lopez Acosta has racked up four MAAC Libero of the Week awards, including three this season.
 
Scouting the Purple Eagles
• Niagara is coming off a weekend split which saw them fall to Iona in straight sets Oct. 27, rebounding with a 3-2 win over Manhattan Oct. 28.
• The offense is headed by Caroline Leitch's 257 kills while Grace Hetterscheidt paces Niagara with a .269 hitting clip.
• Niagara's main setter is Jessica Streuer with 705 assists.
• On the defensive side, Emillie Wright leads Niagara with 288 digs, while Cameron Maris has 65 total blocks.
• Niagara ranks first in the MAAC in opponent assists per set (1.45).
 
Canisius-Niagara Series Notes
• Saturday's match will mark the 101st meeting between the two Western New York schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1975.
• The Griffs hold a 50-48-2 lead in the all-time series, with Niagara holding the 7-3 advantage in the previous 10 meetings.
• Canisius opened the season series with Niagara by defeating the Purple Eagles, 3-0, back on Oct. 18, the first win for the Griffs at the Gallagher Center since 2013 and the first sweep for Canisius on Niagara's home court since 2000.
 
Up Next
Canisius closes out the regular season with two conference matches in Connecticut. The Blue and Gold travel to Quinnipiac Nov. 10, before heading to Fairfield the next day. Both contests are set for 1 p.m., and the Fairfield match can be seen live on ESPN+.