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Canisius volleyball renews Niagara rivalry with mid-week contest


Melina Woods
Canisius (9-10, 7-3 MAAC) at Niagara (6-13, 6-4 MAAC)
 Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Gallagher Center – Lewiston, N.Y.
Live Video: Niagara Sports Network
Television: LCTV
Live Stats: SIDEARM Stats

Twitter: @GriffVolleyball l #Griffs |#MAACVB
*Records as of Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018
Coming off a weekend split that saw its four-match win streak snapped, the Canisius volleyball program prepares to travel north to long-time rival Niagara for a big conference match Thursday. The contest will mark the 100th edition of the Battle of the Bridge.
Scouting Canisius
• The Golden Griffins sit at 9-10 overall and 7-3 in MAAC play after splitting a pair of conference matches on the road last weekend.
• The Griffs took down Rider Oct. 13 in straight sets to earn their second sweep of the season over the Broncs, before falling to Saint Peter's Oct. 14, 3-1, in their first loss to the Peacocks since 2010.
• Junior Leah Simmons has been pacing the Blue and Gold on offense. Simmons sits at 216 kills (3.13 per set). Following Simmons are freshman Camila Vazquez and senior Sara Wesley, both with 162 kills. Vazquez is hitting at a team-high .321 clip to go with a team-high 61 total blocks.
• Fellow freshman Melina Woods continues to have a stellar first season. Woods has registered 158 kills to go with 80 digs and 37 total blocks.
• Woods was the highlight of the weekend, leading the team with 22 kills and three service aces, highlighted by a career-high 15 kills against Rider.
• Junior Cassidy Ceriani has been the Griffs' most versatile player, notching 637 assists with 82 kills and 176 digs. The setter recorded her seven double-double on the season at Saint Peter's and has now recorded 30-or-more assists in nine-straight matches.
• Senior Sofia Lopez Acosta has tallied 380 digs, with eleven contests of 20-or-more digs this season. The libero averaged 5.57 digs per set for the weekend, also recording three aces in the sweep at Rider.
Griffs Among Conference Leaders
• Canisius in still atop the MAAC leaders in hitting percentage (.231) and opponent blocks per set (1.49).
• The Blue and Gold are second in the conference in kills per set (13.23), assists per set (12.12) and digs per set (16.39).
• Lopez Acosta paces the MAAC with 5.51 digs per set, which ranks her 15th among Division I leaders.
• Vazquez's .321 hitting percentage ranks second among all qualified players and her 0.88 blocks per set is tied for fifth in the conference.
• Ceriani is fourth in the MAAC with 9.23 assists per set.
• Simmons ranks fourth with 3.13 kills per set and 3.50 points per set.
Scouting the Purple Eagles
• Niagara is also coming off a weekend split which saw them go the distance against Saint Peter's Oct. 13, beating the Peacocks in five sets. The Purple Eagles were then dropped by Rider in straight sets Oct. 14
• The offense is headed by Caroline Leitch's 195 kills while Grace Hetterscheidt paces Niagara with a .283 hitting clip.
• Niagara's main setter is Jessica Streuer with 523 assists.
• On the defensive side, Emillie Wright leads Niagara with 230 digs, while Mary Redl has 49 total blocks.
• The Purple Eagles rank second in the MAAC in opponent assists per set (1.51), as the Griffs are the only conference team with a lower average.
Canisius-Niagara Series Notes
• Saturday's match will mark the 100th meeting between the two Western New York schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1975.
• The Griffs hold a 49-48-2 lead in the all-time series, with Niagara holding the 11-4 advantage in the previous 15 meetings.
• Canisius split the season series with Niagara in 2017, losing to the Purple Eagles, 3-1, on Monteagle Ridge Oct. 12, before defending Main Street with a four-set win Oct. 26.
Up Next
Canisius opens up a five-match homestand Oct. 20, taking on Siena. The Griffs follow that with a Oct. 21 contest versus Marist. Both matches are set for a 1 p.m. start from the Koessler Athletic Center and can be seen live on ESPN3.

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