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No. 2 seed Canisius volleyball heads to the 2018 MAAC Championship


Bench Celebration on 2018 Senior Day
No. 2 Canisius (16-11, 14-4 MAAC) vs. Highest Remaining Seed
Date: Friday, Nov. 16, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Live Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: SIDEARM Stats
 Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018
Time: 3 p.m.
Live Video: ESPN3
Live Stats: SIDEARM Stats

Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Twitter: @GriffVolleyball l #Griffs |#MAACVB
• The Canisius volleyball team holds the No. 2 seed in this week's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship being played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
• Canisius will open play on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Griffins will face off against the highest remaining seed to come out of the first and quarterfinal rounds. The lowest remaining seed will face regular-season champion Iona in the 5 p.m. semifinal match. Both semifinal matches can be seen live on ESPN3.
• The winners of the semifinal contests will face off in the championship match on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
• All nine matches of the tournament will be played at the HP Field House.
• The Blue and Gold hold the second seed entering the MAAC Championship for the first time since joining the conference in 1990.
• Canisius is making its 13th appearance in the MAAC Championship in program history.
• The Golden Griffins are looking for the first conference championship in program history. The Griffs have also never played in the championship match of the tournament.
• Canisius has advanced to the semifinals of the MAAC Championship in each of the past three tournaments (2006, 2010, 2014) held at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
• Junior Leah Simmons has been the leading force for the Griffs' offense, eclipsing the 300-kill plateau in the final match of the regular season at Fairfield.
• Three other Golden Griffins have tallied 200 kills, as freshman Camila Vazquez, senior Sara Wesley and freshman Melina Woods are the secondary offense for the squad.
• Junior Cassidy Ceriani leads the Griffs with 930 assists on the season. The setter has also tallied 107 kills and is second on the team with 241 digs.
• Senior Sofia Lopez Acosta has been a defensive wizard for the Griffs, pacing the team with 515 digs. The libero is also the team leader in service aces with 34.
• Vazquez has contributed on more than just offense, as the middle hitter has a team-best 80 total blocks (8 solo blocks, 72 block assists).
• Canisius finds itself atop the MAAC in team hitting percentage at .254. That hitting clip ranks 31st in the nation.
• The Griffs are second in the conference with 1.65 service aces per set, ranking 20th nationally in that category.
• The Blue and Gold are also second in in the MAAC in kills per set (13.59), assists per set (12.29), and opponent blocks per set (1.48).
• Lopez Acosta paces the MAAC with 5.36 digs per set, ranking 22nd among Division I leaders, while the libero's 0.35 service aces per set is fifth-best in the conference.
• Woods' 0.33 service aces per set put the freshman seventh among conference leaders.
• Vazquez's .347 hitting percentage is first among all qualified players and her 0.83 blocks per set is eighth in the conference.
• Wesley's .305 hitting clip places the senior second in the conference behind Vazquez.
• Ceriani is fourth in the MAAC with 9.69 assists per set while Simmons ranks fifth with 3.18 kills per set.
• The Golden Griffins' 14 victories in MAAC play are tied for the program record in conference wins, set by the 2006 team that went an identical 14-4 in league action that season.
• The Blue and Gold's 16-11 overall record is the first time the Griffs have finished the season above .500 since 2012.
• With a .254 team hitting percentage, the 2018 squad is on pace to set the program record held by the 2006 Golden Griffins at a .218 clip.
• The 2018 team's nine sweeps are the most in a season since 2011, when the Griffs won 10 matches in straight sets, including six-in-a-row to end the regular season.
• Roster-wise, Canisius' freshman class of six is the largest group since 1998, which also saw six rookies on the roster.
• The Griffs' 8-1 home record is the most wins at the Koessler Athletic Center since the 2008 team went 9-1 on their home court.
• Six of the Griffs' home victories came via a sweep, while Canisius' only five-set win came at home as well against Marist.
• Dating back the 2017 season, the Blue and Gold had a 10-match winning streak at home, spanning from Oct. 26, 2017 to Oct. 27, 2018.
• The Griffs' only defeat at home came at the hands of Iona, 3-0, which also marked the only time Canisius was swept in MAAC play during the regular season.
• Nine of the Golden Griffins' 14 conference victories ended with Canisius winning in straight sets, as the Griffs were on the losing end of a sweep only once during their MAAC slate.
• The Blue and Gold has three-straight sweeps to start October, defeating Fairfield and Quinnipiac at home by identical 3-0 scores, before beating Rider in three sets on the road.
• The Battle of the Bridge rivalry with Niagara saw the Griffs take both matches by a score of 3-0, as Canisius also defeated Quinnipiac and Rider via straight sets in both meetings with the two MAAC schools.
• Sofia Lopez Acosta, a transfer from Arizona Western College, has placed herself on the edge of the Canisius career and single-season record books.
• In her two seasons wearing the Blue and Gold, the libero has amassed 940 digs, checking in 34 away from tenth in program history, held by Rachel Kline's 974 digs.
• The senior surpassed the 500-dig plateau on the season, the ninth player in program history to accomplish the milestone. Her 515 digs this season ranks 8th on the school's single-season digs list, three short of Emily Litwin's2013 total (518).
• Lopez Acosta's 63 career service aces are the most for a Canisius player who only played two seasons sinceAislinn Hayes notched 63 aces from 2015-16.
• Cassidy Ceriani has done more than just facilitate the offense with 930 assists. Providing versatility in every aspect, the setter has recorded nine double-doubles this season.
• Ceriani started the campaign by recording her first triple-double (11 kills, 25 assists, 19 digs) versus Montana State in the Griffs' season opener.
• The junior, tallying 107 kills, is the first Canisius setter to surpass the century mark in kills for a season sinceJanelle Davis in 2011.
• The setter has also added on 23 service aces and 24 total blocks, while her 241 digs on the season are two shy of being a career-high.
• Ceriani's 2,619 career assists sit tied for fourth in program history with Lauren Lackovich, and are 75 away from predecessor Grace Streicher's 2,694.
• The junior's 930 assists this season are 16 away from Streicher's 946 in 2015 that sits 10th all-time.
• Ceriani's, at 88 career service aces, needs 14 more to match Brittany Gerde's 102 career aces for tenth all-time.
• Playing on the outside her freshman year, Sara Wesley moved back to middle hitter when Lenika Vazquez took over the program in 2016, and the senior has been a weapon ever since.
• After missing out on the 200-kills mark by four kills her sophomore season, Wesley has posted back-to-back 200-kill seasons and has tallied 60-plus blocks in her three seasons under Vazquez.
• The senior has a .255 career hitting percentage, good for seventh in program history for players with a minimum of 500 kills.
• With 211 block assists in her career, Wesley is ninth in the Canisius record books.
• Four members of the Golden Griffins have parents and/or siblings that played volleyball at the Division I level.
• Cassidy Ceriani's mother, Dylann (nee Duncan), was a two-time All-American and at BYU and received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award before joining the USA women's national team.
• Ceriani's sister, Lael, played two seasons at UT-Martin before transferring to East Carolina for her final two years of eligibility.
• Carly Shifflet's mother, Robin, played for Ohio State and Louisville, wearing Shifflet's No. 5.
• Gabrielle Darnaby is the second member of her family to play for a MAAC school, as her sister Kassandra is a former Iona Gael.
• Haleigh Nelson, sister of Hannah Nelson, played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin before playing professionally in France.

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